Warm Brussels Sprout Salad

Brussels Sprouts. To think I went 26 years of my life without them. Thankfully I sucked it up and roasted a pan of them 2 years ago…and then subsequently ate the entire pan in 2 days. These are one of my favorite winter vegetables. Roasted them in a no-fail way to win over non-believers. A friend of mine mentioned a shredded raw brussels sprout salad she made and it got me thinking that it was time to venture out. I wasn’t quite ready for raw sprouts, but shredded I could do. Then I found this delicious looking warm Brussels sprout salad over at a Beautiful Mess and I was sold. I made a few changes for what I had on hand and my personal taste. This recipe ends up being the best of winter with a touch of summer with the hint of lemon.

warm sprout salad

Warm Brussels Sprout Salad
Recipe from A Beautiful Mess

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts
  • 2/3 cup craisins
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Shred the Brussels Sprouts in a food processor. I chopped them, but think it would have been better if I had used the shredding function because the pieces were all different sizes.
  2. Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sprouts and toss with oil. Cook until bright green. Add craisins and cook for a few more minutes to warm them.
  3. Clean the food processor and then add the  mayo, garlic, and lemon juice. Pulse until well combined. Leave the processor running and add 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add salt and pepper for your personal taste.
  4. Pour the dressing over the hot mixture. Coat well.
  5. Serve warm and enjoy!
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Frozen Yogurt Fruit Bars

When I first saw these frozen yogurt trail mix bars over at The Lean Green Bean, I knew I had to make them. J and I love, love, LOVE frozen treats. I wanted to finish that sentence with “in the summer”  but realized that we really just love them all the time. I whipped a quick batch together during my 3 hour CSA food prep marathon last Tuesday. We got a pint of fresh raspberries in the CSA and I knew I had to act quick, or else they would be gone before I got around to making the bars.

We didn’t have any granola on hand, so I first had to throw that together. I used this simple recipe as a guide and just crumbled some of the bars for granola. I also didn’t use Greek yogurt because I had non-fat on hand. These turned out really good, but I’m sure they weren’t as good as the real thing – fat free dairy gets very icy in the freezer, where yogurt with a little “junk in the trunk” will be nice and creamy.

100_1580Frozen Yogurt Fruit Bars
Recipe adapted from The Lean Green Bean

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fat free, plain yogurt
  • 1 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup granola*

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix the two yogurts together. Add raspberries and 1/2 the granola.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Pour mixture on the foil and spread to be 1″ thick. Top with remaining granola.
  3. Place pan in the freezer. After an hour or two, remove from freezer and check how frozen the bars are. Our freezer wasn’t super cold, so they were still a little soft. I used this as an opportunity to score them, making it easier to cut later.
  4. Return to the freezer until solid. Cut into bars and place bars into a freezer container. Store in the freezer.

Kitchen Sink Granola
Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 ½ cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup sliced almonds

Directions

  1. Place honey, molasses, and peanut butter in a pan and slowly heat. Stir constantly. Bring to a light boil and reduce heat, continuing to stir.
  2. Add almond extract and cinnamon; stir well. Add oats and almonds; stir well and remove from heat.
  3. Firmly press into a lightly greased baking pan and let cool. To make them crunchier, bake for 20 minutes at 350F.

CSA Week #7

csa week 7In this week’s box:

  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers (normal and pickling)
  • Green Beans
  • Yellow wax beans
  • Herbs – sage, thyme, parsley
  • Raspberries
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Sweet Corn
  • Swiss Chard
  • Summer squash

Last night I spent a few hours getting things cleaned and cooked for the week. Here’s what I did:

  • Beets – roasted at 350F for 1 hour; peeled and sliced. How will I use them? Well, that is still TBD. I think I am going to use them in a beet and cabbage slaw like this one.
  • Cabbage – sitting in the crisper until I make some slaw for our trip this weekend.
  • Broccoli – sauteed and added to an egg bake.
  • Cucumbers – 2 are sliced and ready to eat; the other two are hanging out in the crisper.
  • Pickling cucumbers – sitting in the crisper until I decide to pickle them. I think I’ll make some garlic dill pickles, but I’m not positive. I have so many other herbs that I might try to use some of those instead.
  • Green Beans – these are in the crisper until I get a chance to make 3 bean salad again (for this weekend). I made some last weekend and it turned out awesome. I’ll post the recipe soon!
  • Yellow wax beans – ditto to the GBs
  • Herbs (sage, thyme, parsley)
    • Sage and Parsley joined their counterparts from last week in the basement where they are drying
    • The thyme is still in a sealed container in the refrigerator with the thyme from last week (which is still surprisingly fresh). Who would have thought I’d ever have so much thyme, ahahaha…ok enough with the lame jokes.
  • Raspberries – 1/2 were eaten before they made it to their current home in the refrigerator. The farm told me I was supposed to eat them all in 24 hours, so I am just trying to be a good girl 🙂
  • Sugar Snap Peas – cleaned and put in the refrigerator to be snacked on all week long.
  • Sweet Corn – chucked, washed, and roasted in foil. I did this in the oven at 350F x 30 minutes.
  • Swiss Chard – TBD; sitting in the refrigerator with a bag loosely place around the leaves at the moment. I think I am going to make this Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin
  • Summer squash – sauteed with the broccoli and English peas from last week. Added to a delicious egg bake.

Lemon Walnut Cake with Berries [gluten-free]

Flourless Walnut Cake with Lemon Frosting and Fresh Berries
Adapted from Simply Recipe’s Flourless almond cake

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs, separated into 4 yolks and 4 whites
  • 1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white sugar, divided into 1/4 cup and 1/4 cup
  • 1 1/2 cup ground walnut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder (freshness counts!)
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fresh berries

    Frosting:
  • 1 8-ounce package of neufchatel cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Separate the eggs directly from the refrigerator; they separate better then cold. You need the egg whites to be room temperature when you use them later, so separate them first, place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and the whites in a large bowl. 
  2. Preheat over to 350F. Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom of a 9″ cake pan. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
    **Using a springform pan can help make removing the cake from the pan much easier. I did not and my cake wouldn’t come out in one piece 😦
  3. walnut cake2Add lemon extract and 1/4 cup to the egg yolks. Beat well until smooth.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, and baking powder. Add to the egg yolk bowl and beat until smooth. Your mixture will be thick (see picture).
  5. With clean beaters that are room temperature, begin beating the egg whites on low speed. Slowly increase the speed to medium until you see bubbles. At this point, add a pinch of salt and the vinegar. Continue to beat, but now on high. The egg whites with now appear white instead of clear and will start looking thicker. As they increase in volume, sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar to help stabilize. Continue to beat until “soft peaks” form. These are when you stop the beaters and lift them out the egg white mixture will peak up and then fold back on itself. I tried to take pictures, but this is a much better resource.
    walnut cake - egg whiteswalnut cake - egg whites 3walnut cake - egg whites 6

 
walnut cake - egg whites 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Fold the beaten egg whites into the almond mixture, one large spoonful at a time. After a few spoonfuls you will notice the egg whites are “lifting” the dense batter you started with.
  2. Carefully pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Let cool. To help remove the cake from the pan, use a knife around the edges.
    walnut cake - baked
  3. To make the frosting, beat neufchatel cheese, powdered sugar, lemon extract, and lemon juice. If the batch makes more than what you need, you can store the extra in the refrigerator.
  4. When the cake is cool, frost with lemon frosting and top with fresh berries.

walnut cake - mini (3)

Unfortunately, my cake crumbled to pieces when I tried to remove it. My solution? Press the nice, light cake into cupcake paper, add lemon cream, and top with berries You could eat it like this, but I wanted to see if I could get it to form together, so I baked it at 350F for 15 minutes. It worked well, but the cake is fine, so be sure to eat it with a fork, even though it is a cupcake.

Looking for some other ideas to use up your summer berries? Check these out:

White balsamic custard tart

Strawberry shortcake shooters

Roasted Summer Fruit Pizza

Summer Berry Tartlets

Homemade Protein Bars

Last week was our “Transitional Clerkship” for 3rd year – basically an orientation for them to have one last shot at nurturing us before we are sent to the wolves…I am mean wards 😉 A common theme throughout was to make sure to eat – be sure to eat breakfast, be sure to eat protein, always carry a snack, etc… I found it pretty humorous that we need to tell grown adults to eat, but whatever. All of the talk about snacks and high protein got me thinking I should spend some time over the weekend making a new version of snack bars to carry with me. I love my banana bars, but they are a little too sticky for carrying in a white coat pocket and could use a little protein. After a little searching I came up with the recipe. I am pretty happy with it, because I want something that is healthy, filling, and not too sweet (because then I would just want to eat them all!). If you are looking for something a little sweeter, add some extra sugar, as this recipe only calls for 1/4 cup and makes about 24 bars.

banana protein bars (7)

Homemade Protein Bars
Recipe adapted from Healthy Green Kitchen’s Homemade protein bars and my own Banana Bars

Ingredients

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats, pulsed in food processor for a few minutes to make a coarse flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup protein powder (I used 1 cup ground TVP)
  • 1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup nut butter*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • up to 2 cups of add-ins (nuts, seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, chocolate chips, raisins, dates, etc…)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
  2. Combine oats, cinnamon, salt,  and TVP in a large bowl.
  3. In a food processor or large bowl, combine the yogurt, honey, nut butter, vanilla, and bananas. Mix/process well.
    banana protein bars (3)banana protein bars (4)banana protein bars (2)
  4. Spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray. Set aside.
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Use the prepared spatula to add all the wet mixture to the well. Mix well with the rubber spatula until thoroughly combined- it will be sticky (hence the prepared spatula)!
  6. Fold in any mix-ins you are using.
  7. Spread the mixture into your prepared dish and bake for 15 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, let them cool a little, and then slice the bars as you want.
banana protein bars (5)

Unbaked Bars

banana protein bars (6)

Baked Bars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I didn’t have any nut butter on-hand, so I made my own. This is simple if you have a food processor. I used ground pecans in the freezer that I had left over from some larabars I made last winter. Process the nuts or ground nuts for about 5 minutes, until a ball forms and then smooths out. You might be tempted to stop at the ball stage – don’t! Let the processor smooth out the ball to give you a nice, creamy butter.

ROY pops

Two of my nieces were over and wanted to make something from my “Tasty Treats” pinterest board.  Since they are too young for Jack Daniels’ whisky caramels or chocolate Guiness treats (brownies, cheesecake?!) we opted for a summer favorite – Popsicles! I had fresh strawberries on hand from our CSA, peaches were on sale at the store, and a can of pineapple is less than a dollar – how can we go wrong? This was time involved, but the kids loved them. They wanted to make them for our weekly family night, and were so proud to give everyone their tasty treat. Lilly started calling them ROY pops since they were 1/2 the rainbow. Since it was a last minute project, they were a little make shift – plastic cups for the mold and plastic spoons for the stick. If you plan to do these, I would recommend just buying a few Popsicle molds.

IMG_0250

Ingredients

  • 1 pound strawberries
  • 3 ripe peaches
  • 1 cup plain non-fat yogurt (no added sugar or fake sugar – just the good old plain sour yogurt)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 can chunked pineapple (as you can see in the picture the pineapple layer was smaller than the others, so you might want to use 2 cans)

Directions

  1. Puree the strawberries in a food processor until smooth. Scoop into the molds so they are 1/3 full. Place the molds in the freezer for 1 hour.
  2. While you wait, puree the peaches (including the skin). Add in yogurt and honey and mix well. Place this in the freezer while you wait for the molds to harden up a bit. This gives the layer a head start 🙂
  3. After the first hour, remove the molds and your peach mixture from the freezer. Add peach mixture to fill the container another 1/3.  Return to the freezer for 30 minutes.
  4. While you wait, puree the pineapple (including the juice) and place it in the freezer to start cooling.
  5. After 30 minutes, remove the molds and pineapple from the freezer. Add pineapple to top off the popsicles. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

Freezing Fresh Strawberries

Strawberry season is in full-swing here in WI. Last Saturday I braved the stormy weather and went strawberry picking and came home with 10 pounds of juicy, ripe strawberries. After giving a few pounds to my parents (and eating a pound or two myself…), I decided to freeze the rest to enjoy later this summer or fall.

Freezing fruit and vegetables is a little more work than you’d think. While you can throw all the fruit in a freezer bag and call it a day, I prefer to individually freeze my produce so it isn’t just one big clump. I wanted to share my method if any readers are wondering how to get frozen produce that you can portion out as needed.

fresh strawberries

Washing
After soaking the berries, Washing produce is always important, but when you are going to save it for the future, it is that much more important. All those bugs would love for us to forget this step, so they have a few months to slowly grow and  multiply. After a little research online I found the best method for berries is to soak them in a water-vinegar mixture for 30 minutes. The vinegar helps kill any mold that may be on the berries.

fresh strawberries (2)

First I filled 1/2 the sink with water and poured the berries in. I swished them around to clean them a bit and then cut the tops off. To keep them separate, I place the cut berries into a strainer. After cutting all the tops off I drained the water in the left sink and then refilled it with a water-vinegar solution (about 1/2 cup vinegar and just enough water so the berries would be covered. I rinsed the berries in the strainer and then dumped them back into the solution to soak for 30 minutes.

After soaking the berries, I drained the solution and rinsed the berries. I lined the strainer with paper towel and placed the berries in the strainer to dry. After about 15 minutes I dumped them onto kitchen towels to finish drying.

Freezing the Berries (or any other produce)
It is very important that the berries are dry before you freeze them – otherwise they will get icy. The key to freezing produce without it clumping together is to freeze it in 2 steps. First I line baking sheets with cling wrap. Next I individually place each strawberry onto the prepared pan. I am sure to not let any berries touch each other. Place the full pan in the freezer for about 1 hour, or until they are hard. Remove the berries from the freezer and then place them into freezer bags. If you’d like, you can stop at this part and just place the freezer bags of fruit into the freezer. The berries will not stick together, so you can pull out how ever many you need at a time.

If you think you’ll keep the berries in the freezer for more than a month or two, I like to “vacuum” seal them.

freezing strawberries 4freezing strawberries

freezing strawberries 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I place a straw into the freezer bag and close the bag as much as I can. I manually remove as much air as possible. Then I suck on the straw to pull out any air left in the bag. While sucking I press on the seal and remove the straw once the bag is sucked to the fruit. It takes a bit of practice, but after a few bags you get the hang of the process so you don’t let in any more air. This isn’t as good as the foodsaver vacuum sealer system, but it costs about 5 cents vs. $250.

Banana Bars

A few months ago I posted about the most delicious Banana Oat Muffins. Not only are they delicious, but they are probably the easiest muffins I have ever made. I think my favorite thing about these muffins is that they use those over-ripe bananas that you need to find something, anything, to do with so you don’t need to throw them in the garbage.

photo (4)

We started to run low on my last batch, so last weekend I decided to make some more. I tripled the recipe, so I could keep them in the freezer for whenever we need a snack. I also wanted to try to cut the sugar and egg content. Sugar is just a sweetener in this recipe, so cutting it out shouldn’t change the texture. Eggs, on the other hand are what help keep the bars together, so it is risky to cut them out without a replacement. One option is to just use egg whites instead of the whole egg. Another option. is to substitute with some flax seed or chia seeds. I had chia seeds on hand, so I opted for the later option. After I mixed everything up I realized it would take all evening to make these one muffin tray at a time. I decided to try making these into bars and they worked great.

Super Simple Banana Bars

Bulk Recipe

Ingredients

  • 7.5 cups of old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tbsp baking soda
  • 3 cup of fat-free plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp chia seed
  • 9 ripe bananas

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray 2 baking pans with cooking spray.
  2. Place oats in a food processor and pulse until they are very fine chunks – not quite flour, but very small pieces. Pour into a large bowl. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Mix well.
  3. Place the remaining ingredients in the food processor and process until well blended.
  4. Divide batter evenly between the two pans.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top and edges are lightly browned (I did 25 minutes).
  6. Let cool for 5 minutes and then carefully transfer from the pan to a cooling rack. Cut into bars once cool.
  7. If you plan to  freeze them, individually wrap them with plastic cling wrap and place into a freezer bag or large plastic container.