Oat Drop cookies

Hey there gang! I’m so glad to be back in the kitchen cooking away.  The summer madness has died down and left me with a few spare moments to get a little creative.

Mr. Carnivore has recently developed a pretty big sweet tooth which has really thrown me off. He’s always been a huge cookie fan, but when it comes to pie, cake, brownies, waffles, pancakes, etc he’s always stayed away…until now.  Apparently his obsession with running has triggered some kind of sweets loving monster within and he can’t get enough!  Luckily with all the exercise and his insanely high metabolism his waistline is still trim and fit. Having extra goodies around is more of a problem for ME! I’ve been running and cross training too but I have some pounds to lose. I’m still sporting some baby weight (okay, okay, pre-baby weight too…geez!) and have been working hard to get back into shape.  As a working mama it is incredibly difficult to find time for yourself (can I get an Amen?) so trying to squeeze in a run/workout can be tricky.  We just moved our playroom upstairs though so Jr. Carnivore can be upstairs playing while I’m rockin the treadmill so that helps a lot.

Anyway, I digress… I’ve been on the lookout for recipes that are lower in fat and sugar without using any sugar free, or low fat products.  In my opinion they tend to have a lot of added or artificial ingredients in them so I like to stay away from any low-fat, reduced calorie, no sugar type products as much as possible. Last weekend I found this little gem of a recipe while I was sorting through my Pinterest boards and thought I would give it a whirl.  Bonus…It’s also a vegan recipe if you have loved ones in your life that are vegans that you like to cook for (which I do!) these are the perfect cookie!

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No sugar oat drops

adapted from blueberrygirlinoz.blogspot.com

Preheat oven to 350 F.

1 1/2 cups whole rolled oats

1 cup coconut flakes, sweetened or unsweetened…your call (if you use sweetened it adds some sugar..duh)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 cup of almond meal

1/2 cup nuts, finely chopped I used almonds & pecans

1 cup dried fruit or chocolate chips

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 cup applesauce

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (or canola oil)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and spices.
In another bowl mash your banana then add applesauce, melted coconut oil and vanilla extract whisk to combine.

Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Using a small cookie scoop form small balls of dough on your baking sheets lined with parchment (approximately 1 inch) Once you’ve scooped all of your dough lightly press each ball down about halfway so you have a bit more “cookie like” shape.  Because there aren’t any eggs or leavening in this recipe the dough needs a little help spreading. They won’t spread very much so you don’t have to worry about having them too close together 1/2 inch in between is plenty.

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Bake for 20 min.  Let cool and enjoy!

I was genuinely surprised about how tasty these little cookies were.  I was worried the banana flavor would overwhelm the cookie but it doesn’t! The banana adds just the right amount of sweetness so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.  Hooray, a tasty, healthful treat that I can feel good about eating and I hope you try them out too.

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My latest obsession

Hey there strangers!  I’ve been a terrible host lately, not posting any great new recipes for you to feast your eyes (and tummies) on.  What can I say…life got busy!  Mr. Carnivore is training to run Hood to Coast so my life has been about working around his running schedule and whipping him up tons of food to keep up his energy all while managing 2 bakeries(with the big boss out of town) and keeping a two and a half year old entertained.  Needless to say, my house is a disaster and I don’t look my best…there are new gray hairs sprouting by the second! I will share a few links to recipes that have been rocking my world lately though:

Lentil Cauliflower Salad

http://goodthingsgrow.com/cauliflower-lentil-salad-with-crispy-lemon-zest-carrots/

Chickpea Feta and Parsley Salad

http://simpleprovisions.com.au/2012/07/09/chickpea-feta-and-parsley-salad/

Kale and Black Bean Burritos

http://cookieandkate.com/2012/simple-kale-and-black-bean-burritos/

Hoisin Pork with Rice Noodles

http://pinchofyum.com/hoisin-pork-with-rice-noodles

Anyways, these are our family faves lately that have been getting RAVE reviews!  My Carnivore has discovered that he really doesn’t mind a vegetarian dinner a few times a week…I may be in danger of needing to find a new nickname for him!! His faves are those Kale and Black Bean burritos from Cookie and Kate. So I hope that while I haven’t been able to take many photo’s of my own food and blog about those that these links can keep your pallet satisfied for a few weeks until this Summer madness is OVER!

Oh ans here is a link to the granola bars I’ve been cranking our for Mr. Carnivore to fuel his mid morning and late afternoon snack attacks!  Super easy and delicious.

Coconut Quinoa Granola Bars

http://www.superhealthykids.com/blog-posts/quinoa-coconut-granola-bars.php

I don’t use chocolate chips in these when I make them because I can’t stand chocolate and peanut butter together….shoot now I’ve done it!  I spilled the beans! You’re going to stop reading my blog now that you’ve found out my dark secret.  It’s true, chocolate and peanut butter just does not appeal to me, it’s too rich. Well now you know and you can decide if we can still be friends.  I just opt for dried fruit instead of the chips and they are GREAT!  Sometimes I can even squirrel a few away for myself before Mr. Carnivore steals them all away.

So that’s my life for now.  I hope you enjoy the recipe links and try a few of the recipes, they are ALL great but my advice..start with the cauliflower salad and the kale burritos.  Simple, cheap, full of flavor and nutrients… you can’t really go wrong.

Until we meet again.

I’m still here, I haven’t abandoned my blog!

Hey readers!  I did a repost of my famous Berry Lemon oatmeal cookies with a few slight adjustments I felt they needed. I’ll be posting more in the near future, I promise.  Life got REALLY busy, really fast there for a while! The mister was working 2 jobs, his usual and then a side job getting some home rentals back up and running. All the while I was working my regular job,being a mama and I thought it might be fun to cater a wedding rehearsal dinner for a friend on top of it all….turns out it was really fun!  I had amazing friends to help me out and great food was prepared. Can’t ask for much more than  that!

Here’s a shot of the catering table set up, not as great of a photo as I would have liked but still fun to share!Image

Alright already! My famous Berry Lemon Oatmeal Cookie recipe, eat your hearts out people

Today I made my favorite cookies. Alright, alright EVERYONE’s favorite cookies! No seriously though I have NEVER made these cookies without receiving rave reviews.  You have someone you want to impress; boyfriend, girlfriend, your boss, your in-laws, yourself??  

Make.these.cookies.period! 

I have made them several ways but to date this was my absolute BEST batch! 

I call them berry lemon because you can use craisins (dried sweetened cranberries) or dried blueberries.  A few weeks ago my pal Sophie gave me a giant gallon size bag of dried blueberries and I have been wondering what to do with them. Then I had a moment of inspiration.  Pure genius! Add them to my lemon oatmeal cookie recipe…..of course why didn’t I think of it sooner!  Mr. Carnivore and junior carnivore are huge blueberry fan’s so I was sure to impress them. 

Without further ado here is my much guarded recipe, now you can make em’ yourself people!

Berry Lemon Oatmeal Cookies 4 dozen

1 cup butter…NO you can’t use margarine fools!

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs (large)

1 tsp vanilla

1 small/medium lemon zested

1 1/2 cup flour (I usually use whole wheat but all purpose works too, same measurements)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups whole rolled oats

1 cup dried cranberries or blueberries (optional, I say this because these cookies rock even without any dried fruit!)

Icing

Juice of 1 small/medium lemon

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar


Directions

1.) Preheat oven to 350′

2.) Beat sugars and butter until creamy.  Add eggs, vanilla and beat well. You want the mixture to be pale yellow and fluffy: don’t shortcut this step it’s the difference between ok cookies and greatness, should take about 3 to 5 min! If you are using a stand mixer you will want to scrape the bottom with a rubber spatula to make sure that there isn’t any butter & or sugar clinging to the bottom.  Once you’ve done that mix another minute or so to make sure that everything is well mixed.

3.) In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda and salt until combined. Add flour mix to the butter and sugars along with the lemon zest and dried fruit mix until just combined.

4.) Add the oats being careful to mix just until the oat are incorporated. Don’t over do it!

5.) Scoop and bake 8-10 min depending on the size and your oven.  Start at 8 min though, just for good measure.

6.) Cool cookies. Prepare icing while cookies are baking/cooling.

 Icing prep: Whisk the juice of your 1 lemon and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar together.  If your lemon isn’t very juicy add a touch of milk…just a little, seriously!  You want your icing to drizzle but not be soupy.  The technical term for it is the “ribbon stage”  when the beater or whisk is lifted, the icing falls slowly back onto the surface of the mixture, forming a ribbonlike pattern that, after a few seconds, sinks back into the batter. Once you have your icing mixed up to the desired thickness pour it into a small zipper bag (hot tip:set your zipper bag into a small cup and pull the bag out over the edges so it doesn’t fall in on itself, the pour in the icing).  Once the cookies are cool cut a small hole in the corner of your zipper bag and drizzle cookies with icing.  

I usualy set up some parchment paper, wax paper or a paper bag with all the cookies lined up and just ice on that so when I’m through I can just toss the paper, no mess!

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Enjoy!

 

Fool your friends “fancy” taco’s

Do you ever have those weeks that just draaaaaag on? One of life’s worst tricks, when you’re sure it’s Friday but it’s really only Thursday.  I had a customer at work enlighten me a few weeks ago with a funny little acronym….. SHIT (Shoot Honey It’s Thursday).  So appropriate this week!  Maybe it was the 4 day exercise challenge I gave myself, or maybe it was working 5 whole days after 2 weeks of 4 day work weeks…or maybe it’s because I’m a working mama with an energetic 2 year old! Either way I needed an easy, yet delicious dinner to fit the bill tonight to make up for forgetting to make our usual Friday night pizza dough.

This recipe is a family fave around our house, it’s simple, inexpensive, and oh so tasty.  With a few simple ingredients you can create a delicious masterpiece that will have your taste buds raving, and your friends and family fooled!

The ingredients line up.

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Family Style Pork Taco’s with Lime Cilantro Cabbage slaw

aka Taco’s al Pastor ~ 4 servings

adapted from Food & Wine magazine

1  1/2 TBSP Chile Powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of allspice

1 1/2 # pork tenderloin or pork sirlion tip roast (ground pork, or turkey would work in a pinch)

1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped

2 TBSP cider vinegar

2 TBSP minced cilantro

3 TBSP olive oil

1 cup shredded mozzarella

Sixteen warmed 6-8 inch flour or corn tortillas

Mashed avocado, salsa, sour cream and lime wedges for serving (optional)

In a small bowl mix the first 7 ingredients

Chop pork loin and onion into large pieces. Pulse in food processor until roughly chopped into medium size pieces

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Heat 3 TBSP olive oil in a heavy bottomed skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat, once hot add pork and onion mixture

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Sprinkle spice mixture assembled in step 1 on top of the meat and brown. You don’t want to over cook the pork, be careful and brown just until cooked through.  Finish with the 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar and 5 TBSP minced cilantro.

Heat tortillas at 400’F, I usually just toss them on the oven rack for about 3-5 min right before serving.

Assemble taco’s and top with mozzarella, avocado, Lime Cilantro Cabbage slaw and any other optional toppings you see fit.

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Lime Cilantro Cabbage Slaw

4 cups green cabbage, shredded

2 cups red cabbage , shredded

1 cup carrot, shredded

2 TBSP minced cilantro

1 garlic clove minced

1 lime, juiced

1 tsp kosher salt

toss shredded veggies with salt, cilantro, garlic, and lime juice.  Let sit for 20 min then serve on top of taco’s,  it also makes a great salad side dish.

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Simple, fresh, and delicious!  I hope your family enjoy’s them as much as mine.

Reduced Guilt Chocolate Cupcakes

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Do you ever need a chocolate fix that won’t leave you feeling guilty after indulging?

These cupcakes(or “pup cakes” as the little one calls them) are the way to go for you then. So moist and delicious no one will know their low fat OR whole grain!! One of my cousins brought these to a family pot luck a few years ago and they have been one of my go to chocolate desserts ever since.  I make them a couple of different ways, one is with the chocolate icing for a serious chocolate fix and the other is with fluffy delicious seven minute frosting that has more of a marshmallow texture.  Brian storm, these need a squirt of the 7 min icing inside and chocolate frosting on top kind of like a Hostess treat I used to know….gonna need to try that! Either way both are excellent!

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Makes 10-12 cup cakes

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup water, or leftover coffee

1/2 cup all natural unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 egg

1/2 cup light or fat free sour cream, yogurt, or greek yogurt, whatever you have handy

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350’F

In a large bowl combine water(or coffee), applesauce, and cocoa powder and mix until combined

Add the egg and sour cream to the wet mix and beat on a low speed until combined

In another meduim bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine

Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in thirds at a low speed on your mixer just until combined.

Don’t mix too long or your cakes will be tough.  You can also mix by hand if you like, just take care to make sure all the lumps are mixed in.

The batter will be a little on the liquidy side.

Line or grease your muffin tins and pour or scoop the batter into your muffin pans, whichever you prefer.

Bake cupcakes for 18-20 min, but start checking around 15 min depending on your oven.

Chocolate Icing:

5 TBSP Butter

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

5 TBSP cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla

2-4 TBSP milk, start with 2 and see how your icing looks, it should be thick but spreadable.  Add more milk a little at a time depending on what your icing looks like. Powdered sugar can be a bit tricky sometimes and is inconsistent in texture. It’s always best to go with the less-is-more philosophy when making icing.

Seven Minute Frosting:

from Dinners for Winners

3/4 cup sugar

2 TBSP water

1 TBSP corn starch

3 large egg whites at room temperature

Bring water, corn syrup, and sugar to a boil in a heavy sauce pan, stirring, making sure sugar dissolves

Once boiling cook without stirring until 230’F on a candy thermometer, occasionally wash down the sides of sauce pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent sugar crystals from forming.

Meanwhile, whisk egg whites in a stand mixer until soft peaks form.  As soon as the sugary syrup reaches 230’F with the stand mixer running, pour a steady stream down the side of the mixing bowl really slowly. Once you’re finished pouring raise mixer speed to high and beat until thick, shiny and cooled for approximately 7 minutes.  Turn off mixer and you’re done. Now to ice those cupcakes and enjoy!