Mango Creamcicles

Mango Creamsicles--Mango Half and Half Bars

Mango Creamsicles–Mango Half and Half Bars

Yesterday marked the official kick off of the summer season, and nothing screams summer more than a creamsicle! They’re the perfect blend between a popsicle and ice cream–half popsicle and half ice cream–doesn’t get much better then that!  If you don’t have a Zoku Quick Pop Maker–order one! It will more than pay for itself.  If you just refuse to spend the extra $10-12 to upgrade from your popsicle molds, then go ahead and use your popsicle molds, but you will not get the creamy center  you get from a typical half and half bar.

Pin It!

Pin It!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of mango puree

1/4 cup of water

1 cup of organic coconut cream can sub with heavy cream or half and half

1 teaspoon a vanilla extract

2 tablespoons  of maple syrup or sweetener of your choice

Directions: To a cup add the cream vanilla extract, maple sugar, mix well and set aside.  To another cup add the mango puree and water, and mix until mango puree is thinned out.

image

If using classic pop molds, place all ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined.  Divide mixture evenly among molds and freeze for 6-8 hours or until frozen solid.

If you are using the Quick pop maker, Pour the mango juice into the molds and allow to set for 2-3 minutes.
image
At the 3 minute mark siphon out the remaining unfrozen juice with a straw or a unused infant aspirator–I purchased one just for this.  Zoku sells a tool kit for $20 which includes a siphon tool, but the aspirator is $3 and does the job equally as well.
image
 After you have removed all of the juice, pour cream into the molds, and allow to set for another 4-5 minutes, then follow the directions for removing the pops.
image
image
image

D.I.Y. Mango Fruit Roll-ups-How To Make Dehydrated Mango Treats

DIY Mango Fruit Roll-Ups

DIY Mango Fruit Roll-Ups

 

My friends are a kind and generous bunch! They are constantly giving me gifts–beyond the gift of friendship!  My friends supply me with a constant supply of treats.  I went out to lunch with two of my best girls friends the other day, and came home with a gift box of mango’s! Sweet, delicious, and ultra creamy, I did not want them to go to waste, before we got the chance to eat them all.    One of my favorite dried fruits to eat, besides pineapple rings, is dried mango.  But it’s so hard to find mango’s that have not been soaked in sugar.  The best thing about making these yourself, is that you don’t have to worry about that.  Page loved these treats even more than I did, I cut them into bite size pieces with a pastry cutter after they were done.  You could also use a pizza cutter.

 

Pin It!

Pin It!

 

 

 

Ingredients:

6 mango’s, skin and pits removed

 

Directions: Place mango in blender:

image

Blend until smooth.

image

 

Pour out onto parchment paper and smooth out evenly.

image

 

Place in oven, or dehydrator on 135 degrees Fahrenheit, or the lowest setting on your oven, for 6-8 hours. 

image

Remove from parchment paper, roll, and enjoy!

image

 

image

If you like this recipe you’ll love these: Pear Fruit Roll-ups, Strawberry-Apple Fruit Roll-ups, Pineapple Fruit Roll-ups, Tropical Punch Fruit Roll-ups, Strawberry Fruit Roll-ups

Crispy Pork Larb!

Crispy Pork Larb

Crispy Pork Larb

This is one of those dinners that is both healthy and delicious.  Trust me when I tell you when you take one bite of this you will be forever grateful that I started this blog–yes it’s that good!  For those of you who do not know, larb is a thai street food.  It’s so good that it’ll make you question how we do street food in America.  It’s bright, fresh, and full of the umami flavors that will make you go Mmmmmm… If you don’t fancy pork, no problem, you can try this with ground chicken, turkey, or even lamb and beef.  Check out my recipe for Chicken larb here.  This is one of my favorite ways to use ground meat, it’s so simple that this meal almost makes itself!

Pin It!

Pin It!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 pound of ground pork

3 large cloves of garlic thinly sliced

1/4 cup of diced red bell pepper

1/2 of a red onion, sliced thinly

1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup of fresh cilantro leaves

1 head of romaine lettuce, leaves removed to use as cups

1/2 cup of sliced persian cucumbers

1/3 cup of fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon of a good quality fish sauce, I used red boat

2  tablespoons of soy sauce

1/4 cup of water

Sea salt to taste

2 tablespoons of cooking oil of your choice

red pepper flakes to taste

Directions: Heat oil, garlic and red bell pepper and cook until garlic is fragrant–about 15 seconds.

image

Add in ground meat season with sea salt and cook until brown about 5-7 minutes.

image

Once brown, add in soy sauce, fish sauce, water and red pepper flakes if using.

image

Cook until liquid evaporates and pork is brown and crispy about 2 minutes. Add in lime juice, toss well, remove from heat.  Add the meat to the lettuce cups, top with a generous amount of the fresh herbs, cucumbers, red onion, red pepper flakes, and a squeeze of additional lime juice, enjoy! So good!

 

image

image

Fried Cauliflower Florets with Creamy Garlic Tahini Sauce

 

Fried Cauliflower Florets with Creamy Garlic Tahini  Sauce

Fried Cauliflower Florets with Creamy Garlic Tahini Sauce

Whenever I eat out at a Mediterranean restaurant, I find it hard to not just compose a meal from the appetizer menu.  With things like lentil soup, lemon and garlic potatoes, hummus and pita bread, fattoush salad, grape leaves, and fried cauliflower on the appetizer menu, who needs a full entree!  I often find myself struggling not to order one of every thing on the appetizer menu.  I usually settle upon the potatoes or the fried cauliflower.  The fried cauliflower is amazingly simple.  Unlike most fried things that come dusted in flour or some other type of breaded base, this doesn’t.  This recipe calls for only one ingredient, cauliflower!  The tahini sauce is great with this, but the cauliflower is pretty amazing on its own.  Your kids will love these cauliflower florets, mine did!

Pin It!

Pin It!

 

 

 

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5-7 minutes

Ingredients:

1 small head of cauliflower

2 cups of grape seed oil or another high temp oil

Sea salt to taste

Ingredients Creamy Garlic Tahini Sauce

4 tablespoons of tahini paste

8 tablespoons of water

1 tablespoon of lemon juice, more if you like

2 cloves of garlic grated

Directions: Pre-heat the oil to 320F in a deep fryer.  Add ingredients for the tahini sauce to a small bowl and mix until well combined and creamy, then set aside. If you want this to be extra creamy, place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until creamy, then transfer to a bowl.

image

Cut the cauliflower into florets.

image

Add the cauliflower florets to the deep fryer.

image

 

Fry until golden brown.

image

 

image

Transfer to a paper towel lined plate, season with sea salt, serve and enjoy!

 

 

image

 

image

Herbaceous Grilled Lamp Chops

Herbaceous Grilled Lamb Chops

Herbaceous Grilled Lamb Chops

Last weekend I visited a Persian market.  The market filled me with all sorts of food inspiration, but it mostly left me with a strong desire to eat lamb.  I guessing that desire came from the cooked foods section, which had fresh lamb kabobs and shawarma. The market also housed a rather large meat department, it had lamb in every form, hooves, hearts, livers, basically every part of the lamb that a better cook than I am could possibly want to cook. A far cry from the selection at my local Whole Foods! I feel like I hit the lottery if they have stewed lamb meat once every 4 months.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous to be able to walk into your local market and find, um..choices?  Like ramps in the spring time, in California–but I digress.  Let’s just say, I left the Persian market with market envy.   I shop at Whole Foods so often that when I go into a conventional grocery store, I’m always amazed at how inexpensive things are.  Haha..call it reverse sticker shock! Thank you Whole Foods!  Surprisingly, I did not leave the Persian market with lamb.  I did find some great spices, some pomegranate molasses, and a few other great items.  I left with my new finds and a mission to cook these lamb chops.

Pin It!

Pin It!

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1 lb lamb chops

2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, finely chopped

4-5 cloves of garlic minced

1 teaspoon lemon powder, can sub with lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon of olive oil

Directions: To a small bowl add garlic, rosemary, lemon zest and oil, mix well.

image

Dry lamb chops, season generously with sea salt. Rub the lamb chops with the herbaceous garlic paste.

image

Place lamb chops on a hot grill, and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until lamb chops are cooked to your liking.  Remove from grill, serve with a fresh squeeze of lemon and enjoy!

image

D.I.Y. Cheese Crackers–How to make Cheese It Crackers

DIY Cheese Cracker's--DIY Cheese it's

DIY Cheese Cracker’s–DIY Cheese it’s

My mom is a lover of all things snack related, so for Mother’s Day I want to give her what she enjoys most. I had been planning on making cheese cracker’s for Page, she was given gold fish crackers as a snack at school, and came home and immediately asked me to buy them.  Not really going to happen.  So since my mom and Page share a love of great snacks, I thought I’d make these cheese crackers for them. These cracker’s are what AWESOME aspires to be! They’re better than great! And they’re 1000 times tastier than store bought cheeze it’s.  The recipe I used comes from America’s Test kitchen, so if you want the recipe in it’s original form click here.  I used less salt than the original recipe calls for.  Cheese already has a lot of salt, so adding too much is overkill. Do pick a great quality cheese for these, because quality matters for this particular recipe–good cheese=great cheese crackers. The recipe calls for the use of Annatto seeds, I found them quite easily in the spice section of Whole Foods.  If you can’t find them, omit them from the recipe–your crackers will be white, instead of orange–not a big deal, they’ll still taste beyond amazing!!!

 

Ingredients:

6 ounces of organic sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated

4 tablespoons of butter (2 ounces)

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour

2 tablespoons of cornstarch

1 tablespoon of Annatto seeds, coarsely ground (optional)

2 tablespoons of boiling water

Directions: To a small bowl add add the coarsely ground annatto seeds and the boiling water.

image

Allow the seeds to steep in the boiling water for 5 minutes, then strain and allow to cool to room temperature.

image

 

Meanwhile, add the butter, 1 teaspoon of salt, and cheese to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment,

image

mix on medium speed until cheese and butter are creamed and well combined–about 30 seconds.

image

Add in the flour and cornstarch and mix until combined–about 1 minute.

image

Add in the Annatto seed water,

image

then mix until dough clumps together or forms a ball–about 15 seconds.

image

Transfer dough to a  lightly floured counter, flatten to a disc, wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

image

image

When ready to cook, pre-heat oven to 375F.  Line two bake sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and working on a floured counter, roll out the dough to 1/16 inch thickness–or as thin as you can get it without falling apart when you move it.

image

Cut the dough into 1 inch squares using a pizza or ravioli cutter or use small cookie cutters to cut out shapes.

image

Use a skewer to poke holes in the center of the crackers,

image

image

Transfer to the parchment lined bake sheets, place in the oven and bake until light and golden–about 18 minutes.

image

Remove from oven, allow to cool completely, then enjoy.

image

These can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

 

image

 

 

D.I.Y. Chicken Breakfast Sausage-How to Make Breakfast Sausage

Chicken Breakfast Sausage

Chicken Breakfast Sausage

 

One of the most difficult parts of the day for me is deciding what to feed Page for breakfast.  Like any child, she’s opinionated about what she’ll eat, but she seems to be more obstinate in her choices during breakfast.  She doesn’t eat what I imagine most kids do in the morning, no breakfast cereals, or breakfast bars.  She is more into things that take more time, like eggs, bacon, quesadillas! She loves a hot meal to start her day off, so this week when I went shopping, I thought I’d switch things up a bit and make some homemade breakfast sausage for her.  I’m using ground chicken for this recipe, but feel free to use pork, if you’re so inclined.  The fresh herbs in this recipe are what make these sausages amazing! What’s more amazing is that you don’t need to grind the meat yourself.  Order a pound or two of ground chicken from your  meat guy/gal add some fresh herbs and BAM–Jimmy Dean style sausages for you and your loved ones.  These would be perfect for Sunday Brunch, or for your Mother’s day breakfast–point your husbands right to this site.  One pound of ground chicken made about 12 sausage patties.  I put 5 in the refrigerator, and froze the rest for later use.  If you don’t plan on cooking these within 5 days of making them, then I suggest you freeze them right away.

Pin It!

Pin It!

 

 

 

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 8 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 lb of Organic air chilled ground chicken (dark meat)

2 tablespoon of fresh sage (finely chopped)

2 tablespoons of fresh thyme (finely chopped)

1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary (finely chopped)

1 tablespoon of maple sugar (can substitute with maple syrup or brown sugar) Omit if you’re on Whole 30

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (more if you want)

 

Directions:  Add the ground chicken and spices to a medium sized bowl,

imageMix until combined.

image

Form patties, and either refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze in an air tight container for up to 3 months.

 

When ready to cook, spray a cast iron skillet with coconut oil, bring pan to temperature, then add patties, cook for 3-4 minutes on each side,

image

or until golden brown, and meat is cooked through in the center.

image

Remove from pan, serve and enjoy!!!

image

Garbanzo Bean Salad with Lime Herb Vinaigrette

image

Garbanzo Bean Salad with Lime Herb Vinaigrette

 

Salads are the perfect lazy meal. Add a little of this and a little of that and you have a great meal that didn’t involve 1 minute of cooking. It’s no wonder I love them so much.  When I’m in the mood for a hearty and filling salad, I always use legumes as base and build out from there. This salad makes the perfect lunch, or lazy dinner.

Pin It!

Pin It!

 

 

 

Ingredients:

10 ounce can of organic garbanzo beans–drained and rinsed

1/2 cup of  organic persian cucumbers, diced

1/2 cup of organic radish, diced

1/2 cup of organic bell pepper, diced

3-4 oz of Feta cheese–crumbled

Sea salt to taste

Lime Herb Vinaigrette

1/4 cup of fresh organic lime juice

3 tablespoons of olive oil

3 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh mint

1 medium clove of garlic, grated

1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

Sea salt to taste

Directions:  Add all of the ingredients for the Lime herb vinaigrette to a bowl,  whisk together and set aside.  To a large bowl add the ingredients for the salad, season with sea salt and toss gently.

image

 

 

 

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad, toss once more and enjoy!

image

image

image

 

 

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Before I had my own child, I spent countless hours in the kitchen with my nieces and nephews baking cookies.  It was a tradition actually. A tradition that my  now 22-year-old niece looks back on fondly.  Great considering the fact that I do not consider myself a baker.  This particular recipe is a chocolate chip recipe from Serious eats, but with my spin on it.  By spin, I mean I used the listed ingredients, mostly–and a little extra chocolate, but I did not follow the directions as written.  I sort of did things my way.  If you want to make these cookies exactly as Kenji over at Serious eats intended, then by all means follow this recipe.  In either case, this recipe is tried and true. The brown butter in this recipe lends a nice toffee flavor to these cookies.  I let the dough rest before cooking these.  My intent was to let it rest over night, but the dough smelled so good that Page insisted that we bake a few right away, so we did, after it rested for about 8 hours.  To be honest there was not really a noticeable difference between the cookies we baked early and the ones that were baked the next day.  Good cookies are just good cookies. But that could have been a result of me not following the directions word for word.  But that aside, these cookies were amazing!!!  If you were lucky enough to have one of these at a bake sale–you’d be a lucky duck indeed!

Pin It!

Pin It!

 

 

 

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

10 ounces of all purpose flour (about 2 cups)

8 ounces of cooled brown butter (2 sticks) see directions for browning butter here

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

5 ounces  of granulated sugar or 3/4  cup

5 ounces of  tightly packed brown sugar or 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (go to my Instagram account to see how to make your own)

10 ounces of chocolate chips

2 teaspoons of kosher salt–I used Pink Sea Salt

2 eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Directions: Add  flour, salt and baking powder to a bowl, mix and set aside.  Add cooled brown butter and sugars to a bowl with the whisk attachment.  On medium speed, cream together, for about 5 minutes. Kenji’s recipe calls for using brown butter that has not fully solidified, but I am a busy woman, I put my brown butter in the refrigerator, and came back for it 3 hours later, so I decided to cream it with the sugars.

image

After butter and sugar mixture has creamed, change to the paddle attachment and add in the eggs and vanilla mix on medium speed until the mixture comes together.

image

image

Add in the flour mixture and mix on low speed until dough  is just barely combined , about 15 seconds.

image

There should still be some dry flour remaining.

image

Turn off mixer, add in chocolate chips, using a silicon spatula, fold the chocolate chips into the dough,

image

 

Transfer to an air tight container and refrigerate.  I rolled the dough out onto parchment and then sealed it in a Ziploc bag.  Then separated it into 3 equal sized cookie logsso that I could freeze them for later–that didn’t really happen–I gave one roll away, and we ate the rest:

image

 

image

 

Allow the dough to rest overnight, or as long as you can–up to 3 days in the refrigerator, then cut or scoop dough out into tablespoon sized  portions on to a silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet.

image

image

Bake on 325F for 13-16 minutes.  The cookies should be brown on the edges but soft in the middle.  Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack to cool, then enjoy!

image

image

 

image

 

How to Brown Butter

How to Brown Butter

How to Brown Butter

It has been said that butter makes everything better.  In my opinion  brown butter is butter in it’s best form.  The nutty, butterscotch notes butter has once it has been browned are heavenly!  I love to use brown butter in everything from sauces to baked goods.  In fact, the other day, Page and I were baking with browned butter, and even she–in all of her 3-year-old astuteness–could not stop saying how good the brown butter smelled.  The aroma had us both in a euphoric trance–I’m not exaggerating–we were both giddy over the smell–and the cookies…the cookies were AMAZING!!!  I’ll share that post another day.  You can make as much, or as little, of this as you’d like.  Once the butter has browned, you can place it in the refrigerator to use for later.  A good brown butter sauce can liven up everything –even veggies.

Pin It!

Pin It!

 

 

 

Prep time: none

Cook time: 5-7 minutes

Ingredients:

2 sticks of butter

Directions: Place the butter in a stainless steel or clear bottom sauce pan

image

and melt over medium low heat.

image

 

Once the butter has completely melted, things move along pretty quickly, the solids have already begun to separate for me and it’s been about two minutes:

image

 

At about 5 minutes in the butter will start to bubble and and splatter, stir, stir, and stir some more:

image

Now is the time to watch the butter like a hawk, because then this happens:

image

Foam, a lot of foam, which makes it hard to see if the butter has browned underneath, so move the foam to the side with a spoon to see if the butter has browned. image

You’ll be able to tell the butter has browned because you’ll start to see brown bits of milk solids on the spoon and in the pan.

image

 

The butter will also start to smell AMAZING!! It takes on a sweet, nutty almost butterscotch aroma.  I was happy with the color at this point, but you could go a little longer–just be careful not to go too much longer, because the butter continues to brown even after you remove it from the heat. After you’re happy with the color,  remove it from heat and transfer to a heatproof container.  Make sure to transfer all of the butter milk solids–the milk solids are the best part.  They don’t look appetizing but they are.  I added them after I took this picture, just so you guys could see what they look like.:

image

 

Continue to stir for a  few minutes to help cool it down.

image

Use it right away or allow the brown butter to cool to room temperature before transferring to an air tight container and then the refrigerator for later use.