Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

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My boys love breakfast items made with pumpkin. Pancakes, waffles and now cookies! Plus these cookies are wheat-free. So for anyone that’s looking for gluten-free recipes, you have to try this one. 

A quick search last night turned up a few recipes for “pumpkin breakfast cookies.” I browsed them and looked over the needed ingredients before settling on this one from a blog called “From the Little Yellow Kitchen.” The photo above shows how mine turned out. Plan on about 15 minutes of prep time and then 13 minutes of bake time.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies {Gluten-free}

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

2/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 large egg

1 1/2 tsps pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup oat flour (rolled oats, well ground in food processor)

1  3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup dark brown sugar (light worked fine for me)

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1  1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp salt

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside. Alternatively, you can lightly grease mini-muffin cups and baking cookies in there.

Make oat flour, by grinding about 1 1/4 cups oats in a food processor, until finely ground, about 1-2 minutes.

In bowl of stand mixer, combine pumpkin, egg, and vanilla and beat until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine oat flour, oats, maple syrup, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices, chocolate chips, and dried cranberries. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. The cookie dough will be thick.

Using a small cookie scoop, drop about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of dough onto prepared cookie sheets or mini muffin cups and slightly flatten to the shape you want your cookie, as they won’t move much in the oven.

Bake for 13-14 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a couple minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Cookies will stay fresh at room temperature for 4 days in an airtight container, or for about a week in the fridge.

(From the Little Yellow Kitchen blog)

 

Morning Coffee – How About Some Corn Syrup Solids?

I love coffee, especially first thing in the morning. I’ve learned to drink it black sometimes, but my preference is still to have a fresh cup of french pressed coffee with cream and slightly sweetened (maple syrup is my go to these days). So what’s the difference between “creamer” and “cream.” It all makes the coffee creamy and tasty right? Well, sure if you want to drink up some corn syrup solids, partially hydrogenated oils and other things that you wouldn’t drink if they weren’t artificially flavored and colored to look like milk. So then why do so many people like this stuff? Who knows. It is one of those small switches you can make to change your diet.

Ingredients: water, corn syrup solids, partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil, and less than 2% of sodium caseinate (a milk derivative)**, dipotassium phosphate, mono- and diglycerides, sodium aluminosilicate, artificial flavor, carrageenan.

If you’re a fan of the flavored varieties of this “creamer” then just add a few extra artificial flavorings and maybe some more colors to the ingredient list above.

My recommendation is if you want cream, use real cream. If you really like flavored creamers, even Coffee Mate has a line of flavored creamers now called “Natural Bliss.” Go for it. Just don’t get the low fat or sugar free. When it’s low fat, it has added sugar. When it’s sugar free they just pump it with artificial sweeteners. Our bodies know how to process fat and real sugar, but they don’t know what to do with the fake, chemical things we put in there. 

Below is my pick from Organic Valley and they even have a french vanilla and hazelnut version:

 

Ingredients: Organic Grade A Milk, Organic Cream. 

p.s. For all of us with a Publix nearby, they sell organic Half & Half too.

Dinner Menu – Week of Feb. 23

Sunday:

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

  • Leftovers or Take-Out

Thursday:

Friday:

Why Eat a Colorful Plate of Food?

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Grilled Dinner

Having multiple colors of foods on your plate has benefits:

1. It’s visually appealing. We’re all typically more apt to enjoy things when they look nice.

2. You will include more vegetables and fruits, since they’re naturally more colorful that meat and starches.

3. Your body will get the nutrients it needs naturally. Each type of food with different colors contains different essential nutrients.

4. The meal will be more enjoyable overall.

The meal pictured here was a dinner I made with:
– pesto coated grilled chicken thighs
– grilled potato rounds
– grilled asparagus
– slaw with red cabbage, carrot, cilantro, cumin, salt, rice vinegar and olive oil
– sliced onion and yellow tomatoes

Eat Your Veggies with Breakfast

We all know veggies are good for us to eat, but sometimes it’s hard to get all of our servings in at lunch and dinner.

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You can make all kinds of veggies for breakfast: spinach, kale, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini and more. Two of the easiest ones I find to chop cook and mix in with eggs are peppers and onions.

For breakfast today I chopped a 1/4 cup of Yukon Gold potatoes, a few slices each of red and green p stop peppers and sweet onions. Sauté veggies in a little butter or olive oil until slightly browned. Then either fry or scramble some eggs with them and serve.

Congratulations you just  got more veggies in your day!

Perfect Hot Chocolate (Not Cocoa)

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Get warm on a cold Florida night (temps in the 50s). Recipe courtesy of Savvy Eats:

Perfect Hot Chocolate

Yield: Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 oz semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces or shaved
  • 1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1-3 T sugar (optional, to taste)

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, mix the chocolate, cocoa powder and 1/2 cup of the milk over low heat. Stir continuously until the chocolate is completely melted.
  2. Add the rest of the milk and the salt. Stir, then allow to heat the rest of the way through.
  3. Stir in sugar to taste. Pour into a mug and top with marshmallows or whipped cream, if desired.

Menu for the Week of Dec. 15

Sunday:

  • Grilled Fish. We were lucky enough to have some mahi-mahi that was caught just days ago and tasted oh so good off the grill from a friend!
  • Macaroni and Cheese. I’ve become a huge fan of this “Stop Top Macaroni and Cheese” from Alton Brown. if you can make the boxed stuff, you can make this. Here’s the best part, the cheese is real and powder that you add water to. Come on, you can do it.
  • Green Salad. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, we’ve discovered that salad tastes better with goat, feta or parmesan cheese on top. Mix in some red onion, tomatoes, cucumber, shredded carrot, olives and anything else you like.
  • Chopped Veggies for the kids.

Monday:

  • Grilled Bratwurst. Buy fresh brats if you can find them at your local store. I picked up some “made in store” ones from Whole Foods that I can’t wait to eat tomorrow.
  • Grilled Zucchini and Yellow Squash. Slice them lengthwise about a half-inch thick. Drizzle a little olive over them and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Grill them around 5 minutes per sound until browned to your liking.
  • German Potato Salad. This one from Whole Foods looks good, but make any kind you like.

Tuesday:

  • White Chicken Chili. Somehow we never seem to write down the ones that we like. This one from Food52 looks really good though. If you have a favorite, please share it in the comments area.
  • Homemade bread or some Tortilla Chips to Dip. This no-knead crusty bread recipe I found is amazing! I will be posting about it soon, but if you’ve read this far, make it. It’s easy (for real) and very good.

Wednesday:

  • Left-overs or Take-out Night

Thursday:

  • Taco Night! We’re going with good old ground beef tacos this week. Make your own taco seasoning. It’s easy to throw together with seasonings you likely already have.
  • Rice. My boys like rice. A lot. We have a rice cooker which makes life easy.
  • Beans. Make some black, pinto or refried beans to have on the side.

Friday:

  • Falafel with Yogurt Sauce. Going vegetarian one night this week. If you’ve never eaten a falafel, you must try it, and unlike others these are baked!

Menu for the Week of Dec. 1

After a couple weeks of Thanksgiving planning and then eating, I’m back to sharing my menus here with you all. Enjoy!

Sunday

  • Steak (grilled is my preferred cooking method for steak).
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Green beans
  • Garlic bread

Monday

  • Tomato soup. This is a homemade soup that is so easy to make you will not ever want to eat it out of a can again. I recommend this one from Michael Chiarrello. My alterations are not roasting the tomatoes (unless you really want to) and doubling (or more) the tomatoes.
  • Bread. After getting a bread machine last year for Christmas, I haven’t looked back and love making homemade bread.

Tuesday

  • Turkey Tetrazzini with Butternut Squash Sauce. Check out this recipe to use any leftover turkey you might still have.The great thing about this “light” version is that you’re not using anything “low-fat.” I’ll save the reasons for why this is good for another post. Instead it’s lightened up with other real food ingredients.
  • Green Salad. Bored with your typical green salad? Throw some feta or goat cheese in it for something different.

Wednesday

  • Left-overs or take-out night! Instead of waiting till the end of the week, give yourself a break in the middle.

Thursday

  • Shrimp tacos. Yum! These tacos from the Pioneer Woman look delicious! Can’t wait to eat them. My family prefers flour over corn tortillas. That’s the biggest change I’d make.
  • Mexi-rice. There’s probably a recipe somewhere for this, but here’s all you have to do. Cook some white or brown rice. Then in a saute pan, melt 1 TB of butter over medium heat. Pour in 1/2 to 1 cup of corn kernels. Cook corn until it starts to brown. You can also add in onion, chopped tomatoes red pepper, etc. Whatever you like. Once corn is browned a bit, add the rice into the pan and cook with the corn for a few minutes and season with 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder. Mix well and serve.
  • Pineapple chunks. Serve some fruit with your dinner every now and then.

Friday

  • Chicken Broccoli Wreath. This is a recipe I picked up from Pampered Chef a while back. You can tweak it here and there, but overall it’s a great dish and kids seem to like it too. If you can find them, buy Immaculate Baking Company crescent rolls instead of “regular” brands. You can also make your own “dill mix.”
  • Green Salad.

Menu for the Week of Nov. 10

Enjoy!

naanSunday:

  • Naan bread pizzas – pepperoni on top for the boys and chicken / red onion / red pepper / mushroom / goat cheese / pesto for us! Do yourself a favor and make some homemade Naan bread. It was even easier than I thought. You only have to knead it for 3 minutes. It was the best I’ve ever had and made delicious flat-bread pizza. If you don’t have time, pick up a package at the store. The trick to homemade pizza is using just enough sauce and cheese. It takes less than you think it will. That will keep it from getting soggy. Back at 400 for 8 minutes or so.
  • Salad – bibb lettuce, roma tomato chopped, half an avocado chopped,  red onion, goat cheese, red wine vinegar and olive oil drizzled on top with any of your favorite seasonings.

Monday:

Tuesday:

  • Soup night! Oh my. This Provencal Vegetable Soup from Ina Garten is amazing. I made this on Friday and it was so good! Make it up Monday evening so it’s ready to eat Tuesday. The chopping takes the longest part. It doesn’t need much time to cook. If you don’t have the time to make the “Pistou” then you can sub it with some store bought pesto and then mix in a little tomato paste. It added a great complex flavor to it.
  • Serve with some fresh bread.

Wednesday:

  • Leftovers or Take-Out

Thursday:

  • Grilled Boneless Pork Loin Chops, Brined and Honey Glazed – Easy and juicy pork chops! Two things I always want in pork chops that I cook. Serve with some Chardonnay or Riesling.
  • Roasted broccoli – Chop broccoli, drizzle a little olive oil over it, sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until it reaches your desired doneness.
  • French fries – Chop up a fresh potato or buy some Alexia brand frozen ones. Those are my go-to for quick fries.

Friday:

  • Sweet and Sour Shrimp – Yes you can make this take-out staple at home. It’s that easy! Make sure you buy Florida or Caribbean shrimp and nothing from Thailand please. You will be glad you did for both the flavor and knowing you supported good business practices.
  • White or Brown steamed rice – If you don’t have a rice cooker yet, you want one. Even people that cannot make rice can make it in one of these. In Japan, everyone uses them. You don’t have to spend much to get the job done.

Menu for the Week of Nov. 3

Every week it’s my goal to have our family’s dinner menu prepared on Sunday afternoon. Sometimes it happens as planned and sometimes it’s a work in progress. Here’s our menu for this week. You definitely need to try out the easy to make spaghetti sauce from Sunday another day this week.

Sunday:

  • Spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce from Giada De Laurentiis. This was great. My only recommendation to tweak the recipe is once you’ve sautéed the veggies, puree them with a stick blender if you have one or mash by hand (if you don’t have one, put this on your wish list. They come in super handy).
  • Roasted turkey breast. Make this or any other meat to have with your pasta or make it a vegetarian night and omit it.
  • Green beans. I used 16 oz. frozen cut green beans. Sautee them in a pan for a few minutes until thawed and warm. Add a tablespoon of butter and lightly brown. Dump in 1/4 cup or less of white wine, 1 small tomato chopped, dash of garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Let cook on low until desired tenderness.
  • Olive oil, rosemary bread. Just like the bread from Macaroni Grill but better! Plus it has mostly whole wheat flour. I did the dough in my bread machine on the dough cycle, then let it rise on the counter before baking.

Monday:

  • Quick chicken tacos. Stop by the store and pick up a rotisserie chicken, a package of small tortillas (flour or corn), lettuce, salsa, greek yogurt (did you know you can replace this for sour cream and get 23 g of protein per serving?) and maybe some black beans. Pull the chicken off the bones and heat if needed. Fill up your tacos and enjoy!
  • Fresh Raspberries. While you’re at the grocery store, stop by the produce section. If your family doesn’t like berries, serve some sliced apples or some other fruit.

Tuesday:

  • Steak. You can go all out with your cut of beef and get a Ribeye or NY Strip, but some top sirloin will do just fine. Here’s the trick. Put your steak on a plate and season well with Montreal Steak Seasoning (or any other of your favorite blends). Rub it into both sides. Let sit in the fridge on the plate for at least an hour up to overnight. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to grill, let sit on the counter. Preheat your grill at Medium / Medium-High depending on your grill. If the steak is about 1.5 inches thick grill it for about 5 minutes per side max. Use the poke test (shown in this short video) to see if it’s done. Put onto a clean plate or cutting board and cover with foil. Let rest before slicing at least 5 minutes, but 8-10 is good. Slice against the grain and serve.
  • Braised Fennel with White Beans. My son picked out fennel one day while shopping at Whole Foods with me, so we found this recipe to try. If you’ve never had fennel before, you have to try this. If you don’t eat meat, this is perfect too.
  • Eggplant Chips with Basil Yogurt Dip. Who knew eggplant could be this good?! If you don’t have yogurt, use a little sour cream instead.

Wednesday:

  • Leftovers or Take-out

Thursday:

  • Shrimp and Grits. There are a lot of good recipes for this out there. You can find at least 10 on Food Network alone. My biggest recommendation is to use good quality grits. Never use instant (repeat to yourself) and look for whole grain grits that have at least a couple of grams of fiber. My favorite are from Bob’s Red Mill. Publix sells them. Variations on all of the recipes include using milk and / or chicken stock in place of some or all of the water, using peppers or tomatoes in with the shrimp, etc. Find a recipe you like and play around. Here’s one from Bobby Flay.
  • Roasted Okra. Slice them, drizzle, sprinkle and put in the oven – no more sliminess! Voila.

Friday

  • Roast Beef. I always wanted to make roast beef so that it sliced thin for sandwiches at home and was juicy. One day I found this recipe from a newspaper in Oregon. It works! Only ingredients are beef and salt. You need a couple of hours at home to cook it and plan to start it the night before by letting it rest in the fridge. Check out the recipe.
  • Salad. Bored with the same old thing. Try this. Chop up some romaine lettuce, onion, semi-ripe pear, goat cheese crumbled, tomatoes, cucumber and this balsamic vinaigrette that is my family’s go-to dressing.
  • Bread / French fries / Potato Chips. Enjoy something fun here. It’s Friday!