Homemade Olive Oil Butter Spread


EVOO Butter

Ever get that craving for just bread and butter?  I don’t eat much bread now, but every so often, I really just want bakery-fresh bread with a layer of butter.  Today was one of those days.  Sadly, I didn’t have the foresight to take the butter out of the fridge before going to the bakery… and I wasn’t willing to  wait.   The recipe below is a twist on whipped butter.  Only 3 ingredients, but each of them matter.  I start with unsalted butter, so I can add salt to taste.  I like the slight mineral taste of pink Himalayan salt, so I used that- but you can use any salt you want and adjust the quantity to suit your taste.  I also added olive oil so that it wouldn’t harden completely when I put it back in the fridge (oil doesn’t become solid when cold).  I love the taste of olive oil, so I used a good quality cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.  If you’re not a fan of the taste, you can always use a milder olive oil.

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Apricot Oatmeal


Apricot OatmealFresh apricots in the market!!! I had a some bruised apricots in the bunch, so I decided to make apricot oatmeal for breakfast this week.  I love the tangy twist and contrasting texture it gives to the oatmeal, especially since I use steel cut oats.  Steel cut oats take longer to cook, so I soaked them the night before- but I really do like the texture more than regular oatmeal.

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What to do with leftover chili??? (aka… I got carried away and made too much)


This post doesn’t have recipes, just ideas.  A little bit of this… a little bit of that… and suddenly I have a vat of spicy, chunky chili!  Far more than I can eat at once.  Luckily, chili freezes well.  The list below is how I used up all my leftovers…. If anyone else has ideas, please share!  As a side note, I think I’m always going to make extra now. =)

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Mixed Mushroom Ramp Quiche


Mushroom Ramp Quiche 2Last week I went to the farmer’s market and just couldn’t resist buying a mixed basket of mushrooms from this vendor who sells a huge variety of them.  The mix had blue oyster, regular oyster, shitake, cremini, enoki, morel, button, hen of the woods, and some others.  The vendor also had ramps, which are a seasonal herb that tastes like a cross between garlic and onion.  I was in the mood for something light, so I decided to make a delicate quiche, using only whole milk.  If you want it richer, feel free to substitute part of the milk with heavy cream and add a little bit of cheese.  I filled this quiche in the quinoa crust I made a few posts ago and really enjoyed the different textures.

Mushroom Ramp Quiche

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Basil Arugula Spinach Pesto


PestoI realized that I use pesto in a bunch of my recipes, but never actually posted a recipe.  Surprising, since I consider this a staple.  It a quick way to make an okay meal taste special (pasta, sandwich spread, soup, grilled veggies, etc).  Adding the other greens keeps the color nice and bright, and adds some additional flavors.  Also, if I don’t have pine nuts, I substitute cashews and it still tastes good.  This sauce also freezes well, so I often make extra and keep it.

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Jalapeno Cheese Buttermilk Biscuit


Jalapeno Biscuits

Last time I made butter, I had all this liquid left from the first press of the butter.  It tasted amazing in these biscuits.  That being said, it’s much easier and still yum to use ready-made buttermilk.  Also, the cheese really affects the flavor, so definately use a cheese that you like!

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Quinoa Crust


Quinoa CrustI made a big batch of quinoa earlier in the week, and I have some left over today.  I was in the mood for a quiche, but didn’t feel like wrestling with a pastry crust (it’s hit or miss for me…).  Since the quinoa was ready to go, I decided to try a quinoa crust.  Surprisingly, it worked on the first try and was really easy to make.  I filled the crust with a mushroom, ramp, and basil quiche (recipe to follow).

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Orange Ginger Ricotta Pancakes


Orange Ginger Ricotta PancakesI’ve been playing with this recipe for a while, trying to get it to have the right consistency.  I finally settled on the recipe below.  It’s a fun twist on pancakes, and very different than the usual berries and chocolate.  I recently bought crystallized ginger bits from Penzeys, and somehow a few made it into the pancake (since I usually eat them like candy!).

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Spiced bourbon applesauce


ApplesauceThis is a fun twist on applesauce.  If you’ve never made applesauce before, I think you’ll be surprised at how easy and delicious it is!  I can’t recall the last time I bought applesauce from the store… I don’t have a particular kind of apple that I use – it’s usually a mix and match of what I have at home.  I’d say to use the apples you like the taste of!  There aren’t too many ingredients, so the flavors really stand out.  I don’t always add bourbon and it still tastes amazing.  The bourbon just makes it feel a little more indulgent.  Also, I like it chunky so I don’t puree it at the end, but you can if you like smooth applesauce.

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Deviled Eggs


Deviled EggsI’ve made egg salad many times, and always thought it was the easy way out of making deviled eggs.  But I made these last weekend and it wasn’t too hard.  Honestly, the toughest part was figuring out how much to filling to pipe in the egg white halves!  I actually really liked the way they came out and will likely make them a potluck and brunch staple.

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Homemade Pumpkin Pulp


Pumpkin Pulp 2

Until last year, I always used to buy pumpkin pulp from the store, and I’ll admit, I still do if I’m craving pumpkin dishes and don’t have a real pumpkin on-hand.  However, now, if I plan ahead, I prefer to buy my own pumpkin and cook it.  It feels like the epitome of fall to go to a farmer’s market and pick out a pumpkin to bring home.  I like using pie pumpkins because I find that they have less seeds and less stringy flesh.  Don’t be intimidated- the toughest part is cutting the pumpkin in half… =)

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Butter (in Vitamix)


Butter (in Vitamix)

Butter (in Vitamix)

Nothing like the taste of fresh cream butter… This is my method for making butter in the Vitamix- please note that it is different from what is in the Vitamix recipe book.   This is a little additional work, but I like how the butter turns out better and I feel like it lasts a little longer in the fridge.  The directions look lengthy, but in total this takes me about 10 minutes to do steps 1-5, and then it sits overnight to drain.  I tried to be as descriptive as possible, so please let me know if something is not clear!

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Orange Juice Pulp Muffins


I recently bought a juicer since I love, love, love fresh juice.  However, I can’t bear to throw away all the fiber and other good stuff that comes out.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve been playing with recipes to find ways of using the pulp.  I usually make juice blends, but today I was in the mood for 100% orange juice.   After playing with proportions, I finally came up with the recipe below using orange juice pulp.  It’s not sweet, so if you like sweeter muffins, you can add more agave, sugar, or honey. 

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Fluffy Pancakes


One of my favorite breakfast foods ever- pancakes!!!  I love them because the batter is so simple and you can dress it up any way you want.  I’ve made these with so many add-ins: strawberries, peaches, chocolate chips, walnuts, coconut+pineapple, peaches, banana, cinnamon- essentially any combination of things.  They always taste yum, and of course, you can’t go wrong with plain, golden brown, fluffy pancakes with maple syrup! =)

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Pecan Cinnamon Overnight Oats (Uncooked)


I tried a number of different overnight oat dishes over the last week, and finally settled on this one.  I like it because its quick, easy, and stays good in the fridge for a few days.  You can (and should) make it the night before and its ready to go in the morning!  I chose pecans and cinnamon to flavor them since I think both go great with fresh fruit.  The oats in the picture have peaches, but I’ve also added coconut, mixed berries, apples, etc.

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Quinoa Cereal with Almond Milk and Blueberries


I usually make quinoa cereal in water with apples and cinnamon, but I wanted something more filling since I’m on this detox program.  I modified the recipe to make it more simple, heavier, vegan, and no added sugar.  I used blueberries because I went picking last weekend, and there’s nothing yummier than fresh picked fruit!  You can substitute whichever fruit you want though.  I love the combination below because the quinoa is crunchy, the almonds are nutty, and the blueberries explode in your mouth!  This recipe will stay a few days in the fridge.

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10-day Vegan Detox Diet (Days 1-3)


The next few posts will be slightly different from my usual ones.  I’m doing a 10-day vegan detox and thought it would be fun to post the menu and recipes I’m following and how I’m feeling.  The detox program is led by Linda Petursdottir (http://simplewellbeing.com/).  Please visit her site for more information.

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Fruit & Nut Oatmeal Protein Bars


This post has been months and months in the making, so I’m really excited that I can finally post it!  =) The motivation for trying to make homemade bars came from trying many, many ready-made ones and finding them too high in calories, too sweet for my taste, not enough protein, or just disliking the taste and consistency.  I’ve been playing with the proportions for months trying to get it to where I can load in as many things as possible and still have it taste good- and finally reached the point where I like them!  So far, I have been making them every two weeks and eating 1-2 bars a day to either replace a meal, or to supplement a really light meal.

Below is the recipe I finally settled on, including the reasons why I used the ingredients I did, and also the nutrition information (calculated using SparkRecipes).  The nutrition facts may vary depending on what ingredients you use (brand of protein powder, mix-ins, etc.).

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Summer Picnic


This is an extremely belated post since it is from the picnic we had for Mother’s Day.  So, although Mother’s Day is gone, the dishes we made for the picnic are great summer foods.  We decided to have a variety of salads and dips instead of one main dish, and we were definitely stuffed when it was over!  Some of the things we picked up from Trader Joe’s, but the rest we made at home.

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Spinach Cremini Mushroom Quiche


One of my friends made quiche a few weeks ago, and it was really good, so it put me in the mood to try making quiche!  Walking through the grocery store, the cremini mushrooms caught my eye, so I decided to make a cremini and spinach quiche with Fontina cheese.  I was worried about the egg part, but it was actually the crust that gave me the most trouble.  So after two attempts, I recommend not trying to make the crust go up the sides of the baking dish (like a pie), but rather to just press the crust on bottom only.  The first time, I tried to have crust on the bottom and sides, but it just slid down the sides while baking and made a thick lump all the way around the edge- I’m not even sure that it was fully cooked because it was so thick.  The second time, I used a spatula to try pushing the sides up periodically while it was baking- still didn’t work.  The third time, I gave up on the sides and just put the pie dough on the bottom and it worked wonderfully!

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Pumpkin Pancakes


Apparently yesterday was National Pancake Day.  I wasn’t able to make it to IHOP to celebrate with other pancake lovers, so I decided to make them today.  I had some pumpkin pulp left over from the last time I made pumpkin spice coffee, so thought I’d try making pumpkin pancakes instead of plain ones.  Ideally, I think these taste good with nuts, butterscotch sauce, and/or ice cream, but I didn’t have them at home, so ended up eating them with good old maple syrup. =)

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Mexican Omlette


I was not having a good cooking day last night, so for dinner I figured I’d make something that always works- omlettes!  I asked my sister if she wanted it Mexican style, and she said “always.”  So, here’s the recipe for a Mexican Omlette (this is for 2 people).  One note- I use Fajita seasoning from Penzeys, the main reason being that the ones like Old El Paso and Ortega have cornstarch and that makes the consistency all funny.  Also, I make it with mostly egg whites so that there’s less cholesterol, but you could just as easily use 4 whole eggs.

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