Chorizo Corn Bread

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This corn bread can be a great side item or a main in and of itself! We enjoyed it with a side of braised brussels sprouts and green peas. I adapted the corn bread part of the recipe from the Pioneer Woman, but tweaked it. You could easily make it gluten by substituting gluten-free flour for the AP flour.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package fresh chorizo sausage (not the hard dried kind)
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk (whole is best)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoons coconut oil

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Stir together.
  • Measure the buttermilk and milk into a measuring cup and add the egg. Stir together with a fork. Add the baking soda and stir.
  • Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until combined.
  • In a small bowl, melt 2 tablespoons coconut oil in the microwave (not too hot). Slowly add the melted shortening to the batter, stirring until just combined.
  • Sautee onion and chorizo in a cast-iron skillet breaking up meat into small pieces. Cook until lightly browned.
  • In the cast-iron skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of shortening with chorizo and onion mixture. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. (The batter should sizzle.) Spread to even out the surface. Cook on the stovetop for 1 minute, and then transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. The edges should be crispy! Test with a toothpick in the middle for doneness.
  • Cut and enjoy!

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Tips for Better Pancakes

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Here are my top two tips for pancakes no matter what recipe you use (though I have some favorites):

– Cook them in a cast-iron skillet. Nothing else gives you the same golden brown, crisp outside like at a restaurant. Make sure you let your pan heat up long enough and don’t cook higher than medium.

– Let your batter sit before cooking. After you mix together the dry and wet ingredients (never over mix), let the batter sit for about 10 minutes.

I’ll share some favorite pancake recipes and ingredients in another post, but this will get you started. Pancakes are easy and tasty to make at home!

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!