Friday, August 31, 2012

Coconut Oil Biscuits

I have a slight problem when it comes to biscuits.  More of an addiction I guess you could say.  There isn't really anything I love more than to start my morning off with a big, fluffy biscuit.  And it doesn't hurt if that biscuit is hugging an egg and a few slices of bacon.

I've tried several biscuit recipes over the years and have featured several of them here on the blog.  You've got sweet potato biscuits, buttermilk cat head biscuits and then the mile high biscuits.  I love each of those recipes, but when I opened up my pantry doors this past weekend another idea popped into my head.  I recently purchased my first jar of coconut oil (in love) and I got to thinking that surely to goodness you could replace the butter or shortening in a batch of biscuits with this stuff.  Fat is fat after all, right?  Sure butter gives biscuits a slightly different flavor than does shortening, but I didn't think coconut oil would make that big of a difference.  Surely the biscuits wouldn't come out rivaling the coconut flavor of Captain Morgan Parrot Bay would they?

Thick and fluffy.  Just the way I like them.

Nope.  They certainly did not.  What resulted was the softest, most tender biscuit ever.  Ever.

Just make sure that your coconut oil doesn't get too warm and go all liquid on you.  When I pulled mine out of a room temperature jar it had the texture of soft shortening.  It just barely held its shape.  I'm guessing if your oil was in a pure liquid state that you would have a very hard time cutting it into the flour mixture.  If your oil is too soft just stick it in the fridge for a bit to firm up.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ramen Coleslaw

Coleslaw is probably on my top ten list of most hated foods.  So why did I feature it you ask?  Because this coleslaw doesn't have the dreaded mayonnaise in it.  Just the thought of it makes me shudder.  Ugh.

Instead, a vinegar based dressing gives this dish plenty of flavor while still keeping it light.  The actual cabbage part of it is obviously crunchy, but the added almonds and ramen noodles give it some additional texture that I just loved.  (FYI I forgot the ramen noodles at the store which is why you don't see them in any of the pictures.  Oops)

If you're itching to shred your own cabbage that is certainly okay, but I used prepackaged shredded rainbow cabbage since I knew I was going to be short on time.  Okay, and because I liked all the colors in the bag.  Lame, I know.

Just pretend you see those ramen noodles...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Restaurant Style Hummus

On Friday I posted these homemade pita chips, and today I'm bringing you the hummus that accompanied them.  I know some people aren't so keen on hummus and I will admit that I used to be a passenger on that train of thought.  I think it's a texture thing.  That and the thought of ground up chickpeas just isn't that appealing.

But I promise if you'll just give it a chance you'll end up quite enthralled.  Swear.  What's interesting is that most people who claim not to like it haven't actually ever tried it.  I'm also a former guilty party in that arena as well.  Whoops!

I've only had it before in restaurants, but I figured it had to be pretty hard to mess up, especially since you basically throw everything in a food processor and press a button.  I served mine with pita chips, but it's also good with fresh veggies (think carrots and celery) and spread on sandwiches.

I followed Annie's recipe to a T, but next time I might throw in some roasted garlic or red pepper.  Or maybe add a jalapeno for a bit of a kick.

With football season coming up (!!!) there will be plenty of tailgates to bring this dish to.  Tailgates are usually filled with fattening and sugary (albeit delicious) foods, so this would be a welcomed healthy addition that wouldn't leave you feeling like you're missing out on all the good stuff.  Yes please!

I sprinkled a bit of cayenne pepper on top too.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Homemade Pita Chips

Pita chips are one of those foods that are so darn easy to plop into your cart at the grocery store that you have to wonder why in the world anyone would ever go to the trouble to make them on your own.  I was in that camp of thought until I came across a recipe from The Food Network that I just couldn't resist.  It received some pretty rave reviews and I needed something to pair with some hummus.

These chips were so easy to make and were so much better than store bought (in my humble opinion).  You can decrease the cooking time if you want them softer or leave them in a bit longer for a crisper/crunchier texture.  Your choice!

And since they're baked instead of fried you won't feel bad about eating a few more :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday's Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits ~ Baking vs Boiling Eggs

If you've ever been on Pinterest there's a good chance you've seen one of the many pins claiming that baking eggs instead of boiling them is the way to go.  You know those over zealous pins I'm talking that state that baking eggs "is the best thing EVER!!!" and that "once it try it this way you'll NEVER go back to boiling them".

While Pinterest has a lot of good ideas, I have found that a few claims I've tested have fallen flat.  You know that pin that says that putting baking soda and a bandaid on a splinter will pull it out?  Yeah,  Pinterest lied.  I tried that and it did not work at.all.

But since I'm weird and love eating boiled eggs whites I figured I'd give this a go.  

To bake "boiled" eggs you simply place the eggs directly on the wrack of an oven heated to 325 and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Then you plunge them in a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes before peeling them.

Don't worry if your eggs end up with little brown spots.  The eggs
sweat and then the condensation browns.


While I will have to say that my eggs turned out great (they were perfectly cooked and peeled very easily), I don't think it would be worth the extra effort unless you had a lot of eggs you were wanting to cook.  For me, it seems easier to use my trusty method of putting eggs in a bowl of room temp water, gently bringing the water to a boil and then turning it off and leaving the eggs to sit in the water for 12-15 minutes before plunging them in ice water and peeling.

If you're going to bake the eggs I would suggest placing them in muffin tins because I got very small light brown marks where the eggs had been laying on the wrack.  That should take care of the problem.

Have you ever tried baking eggs instead of boiling them?  I'm interested to see how this turned out for others...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Best Ever Roasted Broccoli

I swear I'm done with the veggie streak after today.  Promise.  Not that I'm anything less than super stoked to be sharing this recipe.  Because it's simply divine, even if I do say so myself!  Plus, I tend to do a lot of sugary sweet recipes on this blog and it's always good to balance things out.

In the past I've always roasted broccoli with butter, salt and pepper.  And I might throw a few cloves of garlic in there.  But I've never used lemon on it.  I guess I've just never really thought of the two complementing each other.  I tried it for the first time with this dish and couldn't have been more pleased with the flavor.

This recipe couldn't be easier to throw together and will therefore be my new staple side dish for get-togethers.  And if you chop your broccoli before hand it literally takes a matter of minutes before it's ready for the oven.  Yes please!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Zucchini Boats

I for one have always had a soft spot for zucchini.  I still remember walking over to my great grandmother's house and helping her pick it fresh from her garden.  I've loved the stuff for as long as I can remember and will pretty much eat it any way it can be prepared: zucchini chips, zucchini cakes, zucchini bread, fried zucchini, grilled zucchini, baked zucchini....need I go on?

But I know a lot of people who aren't so chummy with this veggie.  And that's what this dish is for.  These zucchini boats are simply pieces of zucchini halved with a bit of the middle scooped out.  In that little hollow I stuffed them with tomatoes and onions.  And a bit of cheese of course.  I'm pretty sure even the most zucchini averse 4 year old might give these a try.

The good thing about this recipe is that you can adapt it pretty much any way you like.  The recipe below is a super simple version, but I would have loved to have added some turkey sausage or some bell pepper if I had had any on hand.  Go with your personal preferences and spiffy this up to suit yourself and your family.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Balsamic Roasted Carrots

Did you think I had completely abandoned the blog?  I haven't logged an entry in a full 7 days...yikes!  That's the longest lapse I've let go by in quite a while.  So sorry!

The hubs and I have spent the past few days doing a bit of traveling and vacationing and unfortunately it's not as easy to compose a post from my ipad as I thought.  I could do the text but inserting photos didn't exactly go as planned.  And thus the cyber crickets.

So I figured I'd better make my first post back a good one.  And oh a good one it is.  At least in my humble opinion.  These balsamic roasted carrots are a snap to throw together and are so big on flavor.  And in the spirit of being superficial I must say I just like the way they look so rustic.  Good thing they have the taste to back it up.

While I definitely enjoyed these veggies during these warm summer temps, I think they would also be perfect during the fall and winter.  I'm thinking right alongside the turkey late in November??

Next time I might add some other veggies in there too....if you end up doing so let me know how they turn out!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Quinoa Salad with Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Feta

I'm pretty sure I've already hit my whining capacity with regards to the heat this summer, but just in case you've missed my less than positive thoughts on Georgia's hot and humid summer I'll revisit the subject.  It's.flippin.HOT.  There are actually mornings where I debate whether or not to shower because I know the second I put a foot out the door my hair will have a meltdown, my makeup with smear due to the excessive oil and I'll get those nasty little sweat spots on my shirt because I'm literally baking alive.

On days like these I don't exactly want something heavy to eat.  Okay, let's rephrase that: if there's a slice of rich chocolate cake sitting there I'm going to eat it, but ideally I would be just as satisfied with something light and summery.

This quinoa salad hits the spot though.  Quinoa, being the superfood that it is, is packed with fiber and protein which means you'll feel fuller longer.  And because fresh produce is bountiful during the summer I'm sure you'll have no problem finding some locally grown cucumbers and tomatoes.  Top it off with some fresh parsley, feta cheese, and a lemon-olive oil dressing and you've got yourself a winner.  It's light, full of flavor, and because it's healthy you won't mind indulging in more than your fair share of it.

Mmm mmm good.

I'm not ashamed to say that I ate this stuff for breakfast, lunch AND dinner yesterday.  Yes, it was that good. [Insert sound of me tooting my own horn.]

FYI It's pronounced KEEN-wah.  I know I can't be the only one who spent all of last year pronouncing it KWEE-no-uh.....yikes!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuesday's Tips, Tricks and Tid-Bits ~ Fun Food Facts

Happy Tuesday!  You know what that means....only 3 more days (excluding today) until the weekend, right?

I decided to take a different route with today's post after stumbling upon a few fun food facts over the past few days.  The list below is compiled from a few different sites and, quite frankly, some of them are just crazy.  I won't spoil any of them, but I'm willing to bet a few of them will come as a surprise.

1. Americans eat 900% more broccoli today than they did 20 years ago.
2. Each egg has approximately 17,000 tiny pores covering its shell.  These pores can absorb flavors and odors which is why it's best to store them in their carton.
3. There are over 500 different types of bananas in the world.  That's bananas!
4. Apples are members of the rose family.
5. Americans eat 350 slices of pizza every second.  That totals 100 acres of pizza each day.
6. The FDA allows approximately 30 insect fragments and one rodent hair per 100 grams of peanut butter.  Still craving that PB&J?
7. Refried beans are actually only fried once.  A translation error resulted in this mishap when the original name of the dish means "well fried beans".
8. Worcestershire sauce is made by completely dissolving anchovies in vinegar.  The sauce contains the entire fish, bones and all.
9. It takes 12 honeybees to produce 1 tablespoon of honey.
10. Pumpkins are actually a fruit, not a vegetable.
11. The first carrots originally brought to the US from Europe they were purple.
12. American spend more than $2 billion dollars each year on Halloween candy.
13. Forest Mars (son of Mars candy founder) and his business partner Bruce Murrie (son of Hershey founder) created M&M's.  The candy got it's name from the first letters of their last names.
14. The creamy filling in Twinkies actually isn't cream at all, but is mostly Crisco, a vegetable shortening.
15. Corn dextrin, a common thickener used in junk food, is also used as glue on postage stamps and envelopes.
16. In 1950 McDonald's largest value meal option included a hamburger, fries and coke and totaled 600 calories.  Today's same value meal clocks in at 1550 calories because of large increases in portion size.
17. There is more real lemon juice in Pledge Lemon Furniture Polish than Country Time Lemonade.
18. The powder on chewing gum is finely ground marble.
19. During your lifetime you'll eat approximately 60,000 pounds of food.  That is the weight of about 6 elephants.  Hopefully most of that food will come from recipes you found here :)

Not sure why I decided to stop one short of 20, but maybe I'll continue these fun facts in another post down the road.  Until then, make sure to watch out for that grasshopper leg in your peanut butter!


Monday, August 6, 2012

Eggs and Toast with a Twist

I'm sure you've seen eggs of all kind....scrambled, over easy, sunny side up.....but have you ever seen them cuddled up all inside their own piece of toast?

Eggs and toast have long been considered breakfast staples, but sometimes they can get a bit routine.  In an effort to switch things up a bit I decided to try nesting my egg into the toast as I cooked it.  Not only does this make for an easier prep process, but it cuts down on the time you spend standing over the stove since you cook your breakfast all at one time.   And the sooner I can get food in my belly each morning the better :)

And if you have little ones this is a breakfast you can get get them in on as well.  I used a glass to cut out the little hole in the toast, but you could certainly use different shaped cookie cutters to do so.  Stars or hearts, anyone?

It's already set up perfectly for you to dip that 
toast into the egg.

PS PLEASE for the love of Pete use butter!!  I normally use olive oil to cook my eggs, but butter just makes everything better with this dish.  It not only keeps your egg from sticking to the pan, but it flavors your toast to perfection.  If you use Pam or something similar you will be left wondering why I thought this dish was worth blogging.  Yes, butter is definitely better.