Saturday, August 12, 2017

Making a Latte at Home


Lattes at Home

If I go to a fancy coffee shop, I usually just order a cup of black coffee. If the coffee is too strong, sometimes I'll splurge and add in a little half-n-half. 

A few weeks back, I went CRAZY and actually ordered a latte (espresso with steamed/foamy milk).  I asked if they had almond milk and I figured I would give that a try. Mistake! Big MISTAKE!  The almond milk ruined my drink.  It's just my humble opinion, but I just did not like it ONE BIT. 

Fast forward a week or so... my yarn shop moved to a new location. There is a great little coffee place practically across the street so I went in and ordered a small latte with whole cow's milk.  Oh my! It was a very tasty treat but... let me tell you... it was too expensive.  I think it was $3.83 for a little drink.

This got me to thinking... with a kitchen full of awesome gadgets at home, what could I use to make a latte at home to save money? I did not want to get in the habit of spending $4.00 or more each time I went to the yarn shop to knit with friends or teach a class.

My fancy Keurig HOT 2.0 Coffee Brewer allows me to select how many ounces of water I use each time I brew a pod of coffee. I selected 4 ounces of water but I usually use 12 ounces of water. The result with 4 ounces of water... very strong coffee, just like espresso.




Next, I got out my Immersion Blender... AKA:  Stick Blender... AKA: Boat Motor.




I heated up some milk in a microwave safe container. This tall cup is a measuring cup that came with my immersion blender.  You basically need to move the immersion blender in and out of the hot milk... so you want a container that is on the taller side so that the hot milk does not splash out and burn you.  You have to move the immersion blender up and down... in and out of the milk... in order to incorporate some air into the milk to fluff it up and make some foam.


Of course you have to have some specialized gadgets like these to make a latte at home.  But I was pretty tickled to figure out how to make a nice latte at home without purchasing any other tools or equipment.  Truth be told, I ordinarily don't have cow's milk in the house but just happened to have some since Zach has been home from college and he likes it on his cereal.    


So I'll have a few more lattes before the milk runs out... today's latte was good with the Avocado Black Bean Brownies I made yesterday. Did you see that recipe? It was in yesterday's post!



Friday, August 11, 2017

Black Beans and Avocado in What?


Hmmmm, what do you suppose I am making here?

Avocado... black beans...?

Ummm, brownies!  Yes, BROWNIES.

These are some UGLY brownies, but they are tasty.  My husband agreed to try them despite the fact that I first announced that they are healthy.  He said, "They are good!"  To which I replied, "Do you want to know what's in them?"  He shook his head and said, "No! Don't ruin it!"

So there you have it.  They are UGLY, they are sort of HEALTHY, and they are GOOD!

The recipe is from a blog called "Ambitious Kitchen". I find a lot of good recipes there.



Black Bean Avocado Brownies


Ingredients
  • 1 large flax egg (I used a egg instead)
  • 1 - 15oz can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 medium to large ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
  • option:  add in about 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 8×8 inch baking pan.
  2. Place flax egg, black bean, avocado, vanilla, and brown sugar and process in a food processor until smooth. Add in cocoa powder, coconut oil, baking soda, and baking powder and process again until smooth. Batter will be thick. If batter is way too thick and won't process, you can add in a tablespoon or two of almond milk. This batter needs to be very thick in order to produce fudgy brownies. Fold in chocolate chip or sprinkle onto batter then transfer to prepared pan and use a spatula to spread evenly to sides. Sprinkle top of batter with 2 tablespoons of remaining chocolate chips.
  3. Bake for 22-30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out somewhat clean. We don't want these to dry out, but we also don't want them completely raw either! The top of the batter should be completely set and no longer jiggle. Cool pan completely on wire rack then cut into 12 bars.



Yep, those are pretty ugly, huh?

As we were sampling these brownies, the UPS man rang the door bell. 


Corn!  My mother-in-law sent corn from Iowa!  Dinner is served. 

Yes, we had brownies and corn for dinner. It was a GREAT dinner! 

Plenty left for tomorrow, too!  This corn is so good. 




Also, check out these super cute corn plates. They were a gift from my good friend, Tracy W.  I just love these little plates!




Saturday, July 15, 2017

Oat, Peanut Butter, and Banana Dog Treats


Oat, Peanut Butter, and Banana Dog Treats

I am posting about my efforts to make dog treats at home.  Our boy dog, Brutus, seems to have some food sensitivities and we are trying to make treats which contain no chicken or chicken by products (including eggs) and no wheat.  The dogs liked these treats but the recipe needs some work. I found the recipe on line on a blog called "Damn Delicious" and, and right away, I questioned how the "dough" would hold together.  I think it might be a good idea to pulverize the oats (or just some of the oats) in the food processor before making this cookie dough.  I just made a half of a batch.  I will try this recipe again since the dogs seemed to like them.  I tried the cookies myself.  I was of the opinion that the cookies were good but would be better if they were drenched in semi-sweet chocolate!  :) 

Oat, Peanut Butter, and Banana Dog Treats

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats, or more, as needed
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, bananas, peanut butter and coconut oil. Add an additional 2 tablespoons oats at a time just until the dough is no longer sticky.
  3. Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes and place onto the prepared baking sheet.  Alternatively, use a cookie scoop to portion out the dough and flatten the cookies with your fingers before baking.
  4. Place into oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.

RECIPE SOURCE:

Friday, July 14, 2017

Frozen Yogurt Dog Treats with Peanut Butter, Flax, and Honey


Frozen Yogurt Dog Treats

I am trying to make dog treats at home since we are discovering some food sensitivities in our boy dog, Brutus.  The vet said it's likely Brutus is sensitive to chicken. Apparently that is very common.  A long while back, we also thought Brutus might be sensitive to wheat as well.  So a week or so ago, I set out to make some treats that contained no chicken or chicken by products (also no eggs) and no wheat.

I found a recipe that called for yogurt and peanut butter; at the last minute I decided to add in some flax seed meal and honey.  My thought process being... if the dogs don't like them, then I WILL EAT THEM.

Frozen Yogurt Dog Treats
1 cup Greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage brand)
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon ground flax meal

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Stir until ingredients are nearly combined.  Scoop all into a gallon sized plastic bag.  Snip one corner of plastic bag with scissors.  Use the plastic bag like a pastry bag and squeeze the yogurt mixture out onto a parchment lined cookie sheet through the hole in the bag's corner.  You can portion the treats out as small or as large as you would like and depending upon your dog's size.  I made very small dollops which were about the size of Hershey's Kisses (or smaller).  Place cookie sheet in freezer.  Freeze for about 1 hour and then transfer the treats to a glass or plastic container with a tight fitting lid.  Store in the freezer.


VERDICT:  Sandy really likes these treats. She loves all things DAIRY. Cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, cheese, and so on.  Brutus is not a fan of the frozen yogurt treats.  Since I used Greek yogurt, these treats are very tart.  I am not sure if is Brutus is not a fan because they are frozen or because of the tart taste.  

RECIPE SOURCE:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Italian Zucchini Skillet


Italian Zucchini Skillet

It's been so hot that I do not want to turn on the oven.  I threw this meal together using things I had on hand. It was super easy, it's full of vegetables, and I did not heat up the house making this.  Bonus points for only using one pot, cutting board, one knife, and some measuring spoons.

I portioned this into four servings.  For two of the portions, I ate the dish as is.  It was a little saucy since I added in probably close to two cups of sauce.  For another portion, I added in about 1/2 cup of quinoa.  For the final portion, I added in about 1/2 cup of garbonzo beans (chickpeas).  Of course this dish would also be great with pasta!  I think if you don't want to add in any starch (garbonzo beans/quinoa/pasta), then you might want to add just a little bit of sauce to your dish.  Next time I'll add less sauce and maybe even more zucchini.  Just use what you have; this is a very flexible dish! 

Italian Zucchini Skillet

1 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper or several grinds of fresh black pepper
1 red bell pepper coarsely chopped
1 medium sized sweet onion coarsely chopped
1 pound of zucchini, cut into bite sized pieces
1 to 2 cups (see notes above) jarred tomato based/marinara sauce (I use Barilla All Natural Sauce)

In a large skillet, cook and crumble the ground turkey.  Add in all the spices while the turkey cooks. 

When the turkey is nearly completely cooked, add in the onion; cook and stir for about a minute.

Add in the bell pepper, cook and stir for another minute. 

Add in the zucchini, cook and stir for another minute.

Add in the jarred sauce.  Cook stirring frequently until the sauce is warmed through and vegetables are desired tenderness.

Makes 4 portions.  Enjoy as is or pair with a starch such as quinoa, garbonzo beans, or pasta if desired.  

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Hummus Veggie Wraps

 

Hummus Veggies Wraps


This recipe is delicious!  I saw this recipe on Facebook and just had to make it.  It's so yummy and crunchy... and it's perfect for hot summer weather.  The recipe is basically hummus made with garbanzo beans, olive oil, salt, and PEANUT BUTTER.  The trio of veggies makes for great flavor and texture.  I tried to make my hummus with a little less olive oil; my hummus was a little crumbly but it tastes just fine. It's just a little difficult to spread the crumbly hummus evenly all over the tortilla.  The recipe recommends that you rollup the tortilla like a cigar and then slice the cigar shaped wrap into pinwheels. This is very pretty but I found it's much easier to just eat this like a wrap or a burrito. Don't bother slicing into pinwheels. They just don't hold together very well.  

I think this idea would also work really well with smashed up avocado in place of the hummus.  You can use other veggies as well. This is a meatless dish, but I think it would be good with chopped up hard boiled egg or maybe chopped up cooked shrimp.  The possibilities are endless.  



Hummus for Veggie Wraps

1 can (16 oz.) garbonzo beans/chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I used 2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon water)
1 teaspoon natural peanut butter

In a food processor, combine the beans, salt, oil, and peanut butter. Pulse until creamy.

Spread a few tablespoons of the hummus on a tortilla.  Layer veggies (cucumbers, carrots, red bell peppers slices) over hummus and then roll up cigar style.  If desired, slice into pinwheels or enjoy as a wrap.



Here is the recipe source:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/welchsfruitsnacks/rainbow-vegetable-pinwheels?utm_term=.pi4pL2p4L#.qlVWxNW5x

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Blueberry Banana Overnight Oats


Blueberry Banana Overnight Oats

Do I lose a little credibility when I describe every new thing I try with remarks such as... "this recipe is GREAT!" and "this is my new FAVORITE thing to eat!"?!?  I say those things too much I think.

But I think these Blueberry Banana Overnight Oats are GREAT and they are my NEW favorite thing to eat.  I think this recipe would be fine without the blueberries but I happened to have a LOT of blueberries at home this week because I bought a big container of blueberries at Sam's Club.  I tried a few bites of the oats without blueberries and I kind of think these oats taste a little like banana pudding.  You know... the kind with vanilla wafers and bananas layered in vanilla pudding!?!  Maybe that's a stretch, but I really like this recipe.  I used to think of myself as a morning person, but sometimes I am not wanting to cook first thing in the morning especially before I've had some coffee.  So I think it's really nice to just reach in the fridge and grab a pre-made breakfast.  Plus, it's been really hot in Southern Colorado this past week, so a cold breakfast is nice and refreshing.



Blueberry Banana Overnight Oats (makes 2 servings)
Measurements in ( ) reflect 21 Day Fix containers

1/2 cup of rolled oats (1 yellow container)
3/4 cup plain yogurt [I used Fage 2% strained Greek yogurt] (1 red container)
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of your preference (1 red container)
2 tablespoons chia seeds (1 orange container)
1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup (I used just 1 tablespoon but add more to make it sweeter if you like)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 banana sliced (this is a great recipe for very ripe bananas since they are so sweet)
about 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

In a medium sized bowl, combine the oats, yogurt, milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir well to combine.

Layer and divide the ingredients into two glass jars or plastic storage containers.  Place about 1/4 of the yogurt mixture into the bottom of one jar and then place about 1/4 of the yogurt mixture into the bottom of the second jar.  Put half the sliced banana into one jar and half the sliced banana into the second jar.  Top the banana slices with the remaining yogurt mixture (covering the banana slices with the yogurt will help prevent browning).  Top each with about 1/4 cup fresh blueberries. Cover jars with lids and refrigerate overnight.  I used stem-less wine glasses for my overnight oats. I top each with some plastic wrap and a rubber band since the glasses don't have lids.  Eat cold and best if eaten within 3 to 4 days.