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Friday, January 22, 2016

My favorite cooking tools and small appliances

I recently discovered BlueStar Cooking, and I was really excited when I was invited to write a post about my favorite and "essential" cooking tools !!!!  This also got me thinking about some dream kitchen appliances on my list...Check out this fun page where you can "build" your own BlueStar.  

Here is the range I configured !!!!!


How about this NEAT pink fridge from BlueStar Cooking!!!!





When I started to think about it, I realized how many tools I had that I considered "essential" to my cooking !!!!

So here is my LONG list !!!!


  • My Norpro Big Mouth Chopper, Slicer is REALLY handy  It saves SOOO much time for chopping veggies.

  • The  Epicurean Pizza Peel works GREAT for getting a homemade pizza from the counter to the oven.  The hardest part of making a pizza was getting the pizza from the counter into the oven without making a BIG mess.  My paddle wasn't big enough to hold the pizza and I could never get the pizza off the paddle without tearing it.  This pizza peel is AMAZING.  It is REALLY big - so I can actually make the pizza right on the peel, then it slides right off the peel onto the stone in the oven - the dough does not stick at all.   


  • I also LOVE LOVE LOVE the silicone baking pieces.  I use the Casabella Silicone 6-Cup Standard Muffin Pan all the time.  The muffins pop out SOOOOOO easily and I do not have to grease the pan.  

My wish item would be a REALLY REALLY REALLY nice set of waterless cookware !!!!


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Bars (DF, GF)

These are SOOOOOOOO good - I can't stop eating them.  My co-workers LOVED them also !!!  The PERFECT combination - chocolate and peanut butter !!! I used crunchy peanut butter, so there was also a crunch from the nuts.

Adapted from this recipe.



Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cup dates
3/4 cup peanut butter (no sugar) - I used crunchy
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey's)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Put in an 8x8 pan and pat down.  Put in freezer for a couple hours to firm.  I left mine in the freezer overnight before I had any.  I also left it in the freezer and just took out a few pieces at a time and let them warm up to room temperature.

My favorite food processor is the  KitchenAid  7-Cup Food Processor
For blenders, I use both the  Vitamix Blender and Ninja Master Prep Professional Blender 


Estimated Nutritional Value per piece based on 36 pieces:  Calories 54 , Total Fat 2.8g, Cholesterol 0mg,  Sodium 33mg, Carbs 6.8g, Fiber 1g, Sugars 5.2g, Protein 1.6g


by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles.
Proverbs 1:6 (NLT)


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Chocolate Pudding (DF, GF) - Take 2 - Sweet Potato Based



I wanted to make the Chocolate Pudding with sweet potato,  but did not have any unsweetened almond milk - so I modified the recipe. I LOVED it !!!! I could NOT stop eating it !!!

It is GREAT to satisfy a sweet tooth !!!   Eat it as a snack or for dessert.  The sweet potato REALLY makes this nice and creamy and smooth !!!  Plus you get fiber from the sweet potato !!!

This recipe is adapted from  this recipe .


Ingredients:
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey's)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 very ripe bananas, sliced
1 cup cooked sweet potato 
4 dates
1/4 cup peanut butter  (no sugar)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Place into a glass jar with tight fitting lid.

Then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight..
  

My favorite food processor is the  KitchenAid  7-Cup Food Processor
For blenders, I use both the  Vitamix Blender and Ninja Master Prep Professional Blender

Estimated Nutritional Value per serving based on 6 servings:  Calories 152,  Total Fat 5.8g, Cholesterol 0mg,  Sodium 62mg, Carbs 23.4g, Fiber 3.9g, Sugars 11.7g, Protein 4.1g


Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.  Let those with understanding receive guidance
Proverbs 1:5 (NLT)




Friday, January 15, 2016

Daniel Fast Sweet Potato Pineapple Muffins (DF, GF)




I thought these were SOOOO good.  I LOVED the sweetness from the pineapple and the sweet potato.  The blend of spices also gave the muffins a nice flavor.

This is a thick batter.

As with all Daniel Fast muffins, since you can not use leavening agents (baking powder or baking soda),  they do not rise like "regular" muffins - resulting in a denser muffin.





Ingredients:
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup Oat Flour   (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
-------- 
1/4 cup Perrier water (no sugar)
8 large dates, chopped
2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce 
--------
1/2 cup pineapple tidbits
1 cup mashed sweet potato
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 medium to large very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)

Directions:

Blend the applesauce, dates and water in a blender or food processor until well blended.

Mix the pineapple, sweet potatovanilla extract and bananas in one bowl.  Add the blended dates (with the applesauce and water) and stir until well combined.


Mix the dry ingredients in another bowl.    

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened.  

Pour into muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  





My favorite food processor is the  KitchenAid  7-Cup Food Processor


For blenders, I use both the  Vitamix Blender and Ninja Master Prep Professional Blender

I like using the silicone bakeware for my muffins.  The muffins  come out so easily and I don't need to grease the pan.  My favorites are:   Casabella Silicone Standard Muffin Pan,Casabella Silicone Large Muffin Pan, Casabella Jumbo Muffin Cups.



Estimated Nutritional Value per muffin based on 12 muffins:  Calories 174, Total Fat 8g, Cholesterol 0mg,  Sodium 56mg, Carbs 23.8g, Fiber 4.3g, Sugars 8.2g, Protein 3.4g


These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young.
Proverbs 1:4 (NLT)

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Red Lentil Stew (DF)




  This is a thick soup chocked full of nutritious beans and grains ! 

Adapted from this recipe



Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped

6 cups of broth or water
1 15-oz can tomatoes, with liquid
1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup barley
1 can garbanzo beans
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 16-oz package frozen carrots
1 bay leaf
1 tsp celery seeds
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp minced jar garlic
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt (I used celery salt)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp dried cilantro
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:
Put everything in a crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until done.


Estimated Nutritional Value per serving based on 12 servings:  Calories 151, Total Fat 1g, Cholesterol 0mg,  Sodium 255mg, Carbs 27.7g, Fiber 9.9g, Sugars 3.6g, Protein 7.9g


Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
Proverbs 1:3 (NLT)


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Lentil Split Pea Potato Soup (DF, GF)




  This soup was a hit with my dad.  We both liked the flavor and it is full of legumes and veggies.  Great on a cold day !!!

Adapted from this recipe




Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
1 28-oz can tomatoes, with liquid
4 to 5 cups of broth or water
1 and 1/2 cups dried split peas (pre-soaked)
1/2 cup dry lentils, rinsed
1 large potato, chopped (I pre-cooked a little in microwave)
1 pound bag baby carrots 
4 cloves garlic, chopped 
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt (I used celery salt)
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp celery seeds
3 Tbsp dried parsley flakes

Directions:
Put everything in a crockpot and cook on low for 10-12 hours or until done.


Estimated Nutritional Value per serving based on 12 servings:  Calories 155, Total Fat .6g, Cholesterol 0mg,  Sodium 136mg, Carbs 29.3g, Fiber 11.2g, Sugars 6.2g, Protein 9.4g



These are the proverbs of Solomon, David's son, king of Israel. Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. 
Proverbs 1:1,2 (NLT)




Sunday, December 6, 2015

Basic Spinach Lasagna - Bean Based (DF)





I did not have tofu on hand but wanted to make lasagna, so I tried using white beans instead.  I thought this was REALLY good and tasted just as good as the tofu based.

This is adapted from this recipe





Ingredients:
1 box wheat or brown rice lasagna noodles 
1-1/2 to 2 jars spaghetti sauce (about 40 to 48 ounces) (no sugar)
--------
3 cans white beans with liquid 
--------
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp ground basil
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast Flakes
2 - 10 ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well

Directions:

If not using pre-cooked lasagna noodles, cook the noodles in boiling water about 3-5 minutes until softened.

Place the beans in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.


Pour the beans into a bowl and add in oregano, basil, parsley, red pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, and spinach.  Stir until well combined. 

To assemble, in a 9x13 lasagna pan, spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce, then a layer of noodles, then a layer of the bean filling.  Continue in the same order.  Finish with a layer of noodles topped with the spaghetti sauce.  

Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.





My favorite food processor is the KitchenAid  7-Cup Food Processor

For blenders, I use both the  Vitamix Blender and Ninja Master Prep Professional Blender

Estimated Nutritional Value per serving based on 12 servings:  Calories 169 Total Fat 3.6g, Cholesterol mg,  Sodium 511mg, Carbs 27.2g, Fiber 8.1g, Sugars 9.1g, Protein 9.4g




Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.  And be sure of this:  I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:20  (NLT)



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Daniel Fast Pumpkin Ginger Muffins (GF)



Since there are no leavening agents (no baking soda and no baking powder) in Daniel Fast muffins, they don't rise like "regular muffins" so are much denser.  I  like them warmed up in the microwave and then put peanut butter on them !!!!

This is a thick batter.


Ingredients:
1 and 3/4 cups Gluten Free Flour
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
1 and 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp corn starch
--------
3/4 cup date syrup
1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
3 large very ripe bananas, mashed (if your bananas are smaller use 4 bananas or  increase the liquid by 2-4 Tbsp)

Directions:
Mix date syrup, pumpkin puree and mashed bananas in one bowl. 

Mix the dry ingredients in another bowl.    

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened.  

Pour into muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  




I like using the silicone bakeware for my muffins.  The muffins  come out so easily and I don't need to grease the pan.  My favorites are:   Casabella Silicone Standard Muffin PanCasabella Silicone Large Muffin Pan,  Casabella Jumbo Muffin Cups.

The OXO Large Scoop  is GREAT for scooping out batter into the muffin pan.  It is MUCH neater than when I used a spoon to scoop the batter into the pan - I no longer get batter all over the muffin pan !!!



Estimated Nutritional Value per muffin based on 10 muffins:  Calories 201, Total Fat 2.6g, Cholesterol 0mg,  Sodium 119mg, Carbs 42.6g, Fiber 4.2g, Sugars 20.3g, Protein 3.8
g




There is a time for everything, and everything on earth has its special season.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NCV)


Friday, November 13, 2015

Mocha Coconut Mousse (GF) - Sweet Potato Based


This was SOOOOO  good. It is GREAT to satisfy a sweet tooth !!!   Eat it as a snack or for dessert.  The sweet potato REALLY makes this nice and creamy and smooth !!! 

This is a GREAT way to eat more chia seeds, which are high in fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, and protein.  And get even more fiber from the sweet potato !!!


Comments from taste testers: This is a keeper.  Not a SUPER STRONG coffee flavor.  This is SOOOO good !!!


This recipe is adapted from  this recipe .

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey's)
3 Tbsp instant coffee granules
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 very ripe bananas, sliced
1 cup cooked sweet potato 
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
========
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 Tbsp Chia Seeds (I use Bob's Red Mill)

Directions:
Place all ingredients (EXCEPT coconut and chia seeds) in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Then add the coconut and chia seeds and pulse just until the chia seeds are slightly ground into smaller pieces.

Place into a glass jar with tight fitting lid.


Then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight..
  

My favorite food processor is the KitchenAid  7-Cup Food Processor

For blenders, I use both the  Vitamix Blender and Ninja Master Prep Professional Blender


Estimated Nutritional Value per serving based on 6 servings:  Calories 160,  Total Fat 4.4g, Cholesterol 0mg,  Sodium 81mg, Carbs 30.2g, Fiber 4.6g, Sugars 16.5g, Protein 2.2g


I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him.  Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 (NLT)