Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Best Egg Salad Recipe

I'm not usually a huge fan of egg salad. I pass up egg salad, potato salad and most other mayo-filled, cold, chunky salads. However, my sister makes THE BEST egg salad I've ever had!!! I had it over the weekend and I found myself piling it on thick slices of whole wheat bread and devouring it...this is so atypical of me. Not the devouring part, the devouring egg salad part. I even ate it right off a spoon! I sent egg salad sandwiches with my daughters today. Even they loved it!

There is one secret ingredient, but it is still amazing if you don't have that secret ingredient. We used to live in Ohio and there is a place with world-famous chili called Tony Packo's. They have a chili sauce for hotdogs that makes even non-hotdog lovers crave them (aka my dad, my husband, etc.) However, chili is not the secret ingredient. The secret ingredient is Tony Packos Pickles and Peppers relish. It is truly the BEST relish you'll ever have in your ENTIRE life. I'm not kidding. It is to-die-for. You can order it from amazon here: Tony Packo's Pickles and Peppers Relish As I mentioned before, though, this is still amazing without the Tony Packo's relish, it is just better with it.

So, here's the recipe:

Amy's Amazin' Egg Salad

1 dozen boiled eggs
1/3 C mayo
1 T dill relish
1 T Pickles and Peppers relish (If you don't have it just leave it out)
1 tsp. mustard
salt (if you think it needs it)

Chop up boiled eggs in a bowl. Add mayo, relishes and mustard. Refrigerate. Yep, that's it. So easy.

Tip: Don't boil your eggs...steam them! Put them in a steamer and steam them for 15 minutes. They are SO EASY to peal!!!

No-Bake Power Drop Cookies

Remember my post, forever ago, about flaxseed...and its Omega 3 fatty acids, its anti-oxidants and its huge fiber content? If not, read here: Is Flaxseed Really that Great for you? And...do you remember how I talked about how good RAW honey is for you, with its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory properties...if not, read about it here: What is Raw Honey? Remember my post about oatmeal??? If not, read here: Did you know? Okay, now...why am I reminding you about all this previously-posted information? A few days ago, I ran across a cool recipe on pinterest. I adjusted it a bit for my family and, guess what, it has flaxseed, raw honey and oats!!! It also has the protein from peanut butter and a little bit of crunch, which I think makes them much more desirable!

No-Bake Power Drop Cookies

1 C quick oats
1/2 C peanut butter
1/2 C ground flaxseed (you can grind it in a coffee grinder or a good blender)
1/3 C honey
1/3 C chocolate chips
1/4 C rice krispies

Note: you can substitute dried fruit (cranberries, craisins, raisins, etc.) for chocolate chips

I'm not kidding when I say my family LOVED them!!! One of these cookies has 2 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat and only 102 calories! Talk about a power snack!!! They also have about 1.5 grams of fiber per ball...what a great snack!!!

P.S. If you checked out my links a little earlier, for some reason, they were messed up...but they are corrected now.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Okay, do you know why we celebrate St. Patrick's Day? Well, when Patrick was 16, he was supposedly kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland. God came to him in a dream and told him to get to the coast where there would be a ship waiting to take him to Britain. He returned to Britain and began studying to be a priest. He returned to Ireland as a bishop and began his task of converting the people from Polytheism to Christianity. Used the "shamrock" to show the Holy Trinity...Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost. Isn't that cool?

I love holidays. I have a confession, at the end of February, I'd already started making St. Patrick's Day treats. Yes, I am one of those people who rushes holiday and I'm proud to own that fact. Its fun, alright. Holidays are fun and when you have really fun activities to do that make your kids so excited that they squeal, well, life is pretty fun.

This recipe is SO easy! I found a similar one on pinterest and changed it so I thought it would be a bit better. I've actually made this recipe three times now. Yep, three times. I bought one of those bulk Krusteaz sugar cookies mixes at Costco over Christmas, so this recipe is seriously a snap. Nope, it doesn't have any whole grains, at all. But it is easy and it is fun and sometimes over the holidays, I do a few treats without whole grains. This is one of those times. So, if you want some fun holiday ideas for St. Patty's Day, check out these fun recipes. If you want whole grain recipes, check out my posts between my fun holiday posts!!!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 C Krusteaz sugar cookie mix (I got mine from Costco in bulk) or 1 packet of pre-made cookie mix such as Betty Crocker, Krusteaz, etc.
1/2 C butter, softened
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1 egg
5 drops green food coloring (you can use a little more if you want it greener)
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together sugar cookie mix, butter, peppermint, egg and food coloring Stir in chocolate chips. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 9-11 minutes or until base of cookie is very light golden brown. Let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheet. Enjoy!!!

P.S. Remember my post about Flour Sack Towels? Well, I have an awesome new tip and it uses these towels! I have TONS of scratched DVDs that were not longer able to be watched. It really saddened me, but I didn't get rid of them. Thanks heavens! I looked online and found out that if you use cheap dusting spray (with wax...I think most cheap kinds have wax...mine was $1) and spray it on and then use one of my favorite towels, or another lint-free kind, and wipe in strokes out from the middle, all over the DVD, it will totally fix them and allow them to work!!! The wax fills in the scratches and, although you can still see them, the DVD totally works!!! Hooray for information on the internet!!!

Cheesy Cauliflower Soup

I feel like I'm ALWAYS talking about my Bountiful Basket. Some of you may be wondering exactly what this "bountiful basket" is. First of all, it has nothing to do with the city of Bountiful. They are all over the country, I believe. Type in Bountiful Basket in google and go to the website and find out if your city has one. The story with why I'm always writing about it goes like this...you never know what you are going to get. It is a flat-rate each week and you get half fruit and half veggies. Some veggies you may like, others...not so much. Well, what do you do when you get a whole head of cauliflower...and NO ONE in your family likes cauliflower? Well, I happened to find a soup recipe that actually uses a whole cauliflower! It was delicious and my family loved it and ate the cauliflower up like there were no veggies in it. Actually, they didn't know there were veggies because they were pureed. All they knew was that it had a nice cheesy taste and they were happy.

Cheesy Cauliflower Soup

2 T butter
1/2 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 C whole wheat flour
1 - 1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 C milk
1 1/2 C water
2 C chicken broth
1 head cauliflower cut into bite-size pieces (approx. an inch)
1 tsp. whole grain Dijon mustard
1 1/2 C shred cheddar cheese
1 C Pepper Jack cheese, shredded

Melt butter over medium heat and add onion. Cook until onion is transparent. Add whole wheat flour and stir until evenly distributed.  Add salt, milk, water and chicken broth and stir so whole wheat is not clumped at all. Add cauliflower and bring mixture to a boil. Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove approx. 1/4 of mixture and puree in blender. Repeat with rest of soup...blending only a fourth at a time. Pour pureed soup back into a very large saucepan, stir in soup and whole grain mustard. Serve warm with whole wheat bread.

Note: I recently made this again and my mom suggested adding chopped bacon in at the end...you can do it as you serve the soup. The bacon was a superb addition to the soup and was well-received by all who tried it. My mom stated that this is one of her all-time favorite soups...which made me feel pretty great!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

cucumber sandwiches

So, I have to be honest here. I am NOT a cucumber lover. I know many people think they have a fresh, summer flavor, but I'm not in that camp. I just don't love them. So, what do I do if I get them, two HUGE ones, in my Bountiful Basket? Well, I could slice them and put them on a salad, which is what I'm going to do later tonight. I'm also going to make gyros with some of it tomorrow (recipe on this blog). But...today I made something that was so light and so healthy that I LOVED having it for lunch! I made cucumber sandwiches. They are SO easy and so yummy!

I used my favorite baguette recipe found here: divine vegetarian sandwiches, and by the way, I'm making those divine sandwiches tonight. I need to tell you, I double this baguette recipe every time I make it now because my family loves it so much. I use these baguettes for the artichoke basil pesto sandwiches for us and cheese sandwiches for my kids and now for cucumber sandwiches for my lunch.

Cucumber Sandwiches

8 oz. softened cream cheese (I used light cream cheese)
1 pkt. dry Italian dressing (I use the whole packet, but if you don't want it that strong, reduce the amount a little)
cucumber slices
whole wheat baguettes

Prepare baguettes according to instructions. While baguettes are baking, mix Italian dressing and cream cheese. Spread cream cheese mixture on warm baguettes with a slice of cucumber. Easy, Simple, Delicious.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mini Soft Pretzel Bits

So, I've mentioned my daughter with the hollow leg, right? Well, when she comes home from school, she is ravenous! I send a sandwich, cheese stick (sometimes 2), carrots, ranch dressing, fruit roll-up and sometimes a treat of some kind. I feel like that is a darn good lunch. However, when she walks through the door bemoaning her condition of starvation, I feel unprepared. I have to have food ready for that girl the moment she walks in or I hear, "I'm starving" about 10 times or more...you have to play that in your head with a whiny voice. The day I made these and had them ready when she walked in was one happy day for me. I got this recipe from a cooking website I frequently use. It was made with white flour and I've adjusted it with for whole wheat. We dipped them in honey butter and my hollow-legged child silently devoured them until they were gone. They were DELICIOUS! I hope you like them as much as we did!!!

Mini Soft Pretzel Bits

1 T active dry yeast

1 C lukewarm water

1 tsp. sugar

2 1/2 C freshly, finely ground whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. dough enhancer

1 tsp. gluten

Dipping Liquid

1/2 C warm water

2 T baking soda

1/4 C melted butter

salt/cinnamon sugar (optional for flavoring)

Mix sugar, yeast and lukewarm water and let sit until fizzy (about 5 minutes). Add whole wheat flour, gluten, dough enhancer and salt and knead for 5-6 minutes. Sprinkle dough lightly with whole wheat flour and put in a sealed bag (I used bread bags with a twist tie). Let rise for about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Remove dough from bag and let it spread out on the counter for a few minutes. Cut into ropes about 1 1/2 in. thick and about 8 in. long. Cut into 1 1/2 in. cubes. Lay on parchment lined baking sheet.

Mix together baking soda and water. Mix with a spoon each time before adding a pretzel bit. Sprinkle with salt, brown sugar, or cinnamon/sugar (whichever you prefer). Drop each pretzel into the mixture and place on parchment sheet again. Bake for 6-7 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with cheese dip, honey butter, or any other creamy sauce.

P.S. If you are looking for my St. Patty's Day entries, I'll but putting them back up in a couple of days. I'll have them all up or the week of St. Patrick's Day, don't worry!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Just for fun

Okay, I thought I'd share some of the things we did this Valentine's Day...and for a couple of weeks before. Most of these ideas came from Family Fun Magazine and you can find the how-to's on my blog...just click and do...your kids will love them!

For their classes, we made the Hershey Kiss Rings. Obviously its a little late for that, but they are darling for an after-school surprise:

We made the cute heart suckers from a Family Fun magazine last year. I couldn't find it at the Family Fun website, but I did find it at The Idea Room:

The Cupid's arrows I stuck in their lunch boxes as a surprise and I just stapled little notes around them. They are SUPER easy and quick!!!

I also made Fortune Cookies...VERY DIFFICULT, but I got a few to turn out well enough to stick some sweet messages in their lunches. I just couldn't get those dang cookies to come off the cookie sheet easily. I still don't know what the deal was...even with oil, they just wouldn't come off. But...if you'd like to try it out...go for it!!!

I know these aren't the best pictures, but I wasn't really planning on posting these...they were just for me. Then, I thought some of you might want some cute ideas for today!

Okay...one last thing...I made the Rice Crispy suckers for dessert tonight. They are from Mel's kitchen cafe and here is the link: Chocolate Dipped Crispy treat

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pizza Breadsticks...another twist on Friday Night Pizza

I've filled you in on our little Friday-night pizza tradition, right? This is something we've done for the better part of maybe 5-6 years now. Is it EVERY Friday? Nope, but when we don't have pizza on Friday, I hear about it. When you have to eat pizza almost every Friday, you become quite the expert on "mixing it up". Today's post is one I got from my friend Elizabeth, when I lived in Denver. It is genius! It is delicious! It is EASY!!! It is not your average pizza! If you're looking for a way to "shake up" your pizza tradition...this is definitely the way to do it!!!

Elizabeth's Soft Whole Wheat Breadsticks

1 T yeast

1 1⁄2 C warm water

1 1⁄2 T powdered milk

2 T honey

33⁄4 C sifted whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt

2 tsp dough enhancer

2 tsp gluten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix yeast and warm water and let sit until fizzy; this will take a few minutes. Mix together powdered milk, and honey. Add yeast mixture. Add 2 C whole wheat flour, dough enhancer and gluten and sprinkle salt on top of the flour. (This will keep the salt and the yeast separate) Mix well. Add whole wheat flour 1⁄2 cup at a time until dough is just not sticky. Knead for about 8 minutes. Divide dough into 8-10 different segments. Roll out and smother in room temperature butter and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Add 1/2 of a mozzarella cheese stick and three pepperonis (if desired). Roll up and seal into breadsticks. Let rise for 20-30 minutes, or until breadsticks have doubled in size. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until light golden brown. Makes 8-10 large breadsticks

Dip breadsticks in pizza sauce. I usually just buy the Prego brand from the store...it is so good!

Stacey's Energy Bars

I have this wonderful friend, Stacey Allen, who opened my eyes to nutrition while we were all in graduate school. She is a dietitian and her kids snacked on things like frozen peas, carrot sticks, etc. Needless to say, she is perfectly thin and healthy. Now, on to the recipe we loved...my friends and I always saw her snacking on these "energy bars". So, we tried one and they are SO good! We all got the recipe and all made them for us and for our husbands to eat. Now, fast forward to last week (four years later), my husband said, "Hey, remember those granola bars you used to make in Denver? I really loved those. Could you make them again?" I had all but forgotten those bars, but my husband remembered. Now, they do have marshmallows in them, but other than the marshmallows, they are relatively healthy, delicious, full of protein and actually help stave off my husband's hunger (which is quite the accomplishment). So...I've been making them and they've been disappearing as fast as I can make them.

Stacey's Energy Bars

Melt the following over low heat:

1/4 C butter

1/2 C peanut butter

1-10 oz. pkg. marshmallows


2 1/2 C Rice Krispies

2 C quick oats

Stir in:

1/2 C peanuts

1 C dry fruit

Let cool and eat.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Almond Cranberry Granola

I am a real granola-lover, but it is so expensive!!! Can I get an "amen" from any other granola-lovers out there??? This granola is easy to whip up and saves granola-lovers a lot of money. It is healthy, delicious and my kids LOVED it!

Cranberry Almond Granola

3 C old-fashioned oats
1/2 C slivered almonds
1/3 C brown sugar
1/3 C maple syrup
1/4 C vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. flaxseed
2/3 C cranberries

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Mix all ingredients together EXCEPT cranberries. Pour onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for about an hour, stirring every fifteen minutes or so.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Healthy Cookies?

I have to be honest here...these cookies are for those people who just want a healthy snack. Don't really expect a cookie. They don't really taste like "cookies", even with the chocolate chips. They are very chewy and they taste "healthy", but with the chocolate chips, you can fool your kids into eating and actually liking them. I'll be honest here...two of my kids LOVED them and two tolerated them because they were called "cookies", but for the two that loved them...they were worth the small amount of time involved to mix them up and bake them. The coolest thing for me is that they have no refined sugar and my 2-year old...who hates bananas and has since birth (I know...weird, right?) LOVED them! I've finally found a way to get all the nutritional yumminess of bananas into my baby!!!

Healthy Cookies

3 C uncooked oatmeal
3 very ripe bananas (I used some I had previously frozen and let them thaw for about an hour)
1/3 C peanut butter
1/3 C raw honey
3/4 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Easiest (and I'm not kidding) Chicken Noodle Soup

Have you ever heard the song about "lazy days"? I have those days now and then. The other day, I had one and just couldn't bring myself to make dinner, so I thought I'd try to throw together a quick and easy chicken noodle soup. My WHOLE FAMILY devoured it and each one commented about how delicious it was! Now, I don't know about you, but when I get kudos for a healthy meal that took about 10 minutes to prepare...I chalk that up to a meal that will stay in my repertoire of favorite recipes forever! I thought I'd share for those of you who have the occasional "lazy day".

Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

2-3 frozen chicken breasts
8 C chicken broth
4-5 carrots (or more if you like more...we LOVE them!)
4-5 stalks of celery (or more if you like more)
1-2 C of whole wheat egg noodles (you can probably add a little more, but be careful because they expand a lot!)
garlic powder to taste (I do about 5-7 shakes)

Put all ingredients in crockpot EXCEPT egg noodles. Add garlic powder (I added about 5-7shakes). Let cook for about 2 hours on high, remove chicken from crock pot, trim off fat and return to crockpot for another 2-3 hours on high or until chicken breasts are cooked throughout and there is no pink inside. Cut chicken up and add noodles 1/2 hour before serving. Serve warm.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Applesauce Bread

This is a simple, yummy bread that can be sweeter, less sweet, chunkier, fruitier or just plain, unfancy and delicious. I have one child that has a hollow leg...well, not really, its just that I don't know where she puts all of her food. She eats ALL the time and is so skinny! She gets this mildly annoying (if you are the person who has to always watch what you eat) trait from my husband. Anyway, what I hear every day when she returns from school is, "Mom, I'm starving!" Today, I thought to myself, "Why not have something ready ahead of time for her to eat while she is doing her homework so I can bypass the, "what do you want?" followed by my rattling off a list of things she "doesn't" want. So, this is my solution for today...fruit, whole grains, greek yogurt (protein). I'm not going to say its "healthy", but it is only 170 calories per slice if you cut each loaf into 13 slices, and those are nice-sized slices. So...we'll take it! Oh, I've made it sweeter and I've also made it with 1/4 C less sugar and it was well-received by my kids both times. You can doctor this up by adding in 1 C of raisins, or craisins, or walnuts, etc. As you know, I'm not a fan of any odd textures in my bread, so we make it plain.

Applesauce Bread

3 C whole wheat flour
3 eggs
1 3/4 C white sugar
1/2 C brown sugar (optional...this is the sweeter version and of course...how we love it)
3/4 C vegetable oil
2 1/4 C no sugar added applesauce (it will be sugary if you get applesauce with sugar, but as a sugar-lover, I'm sure it would be delicious!)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmet
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C Greek yogurt.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together. Grease 2 bread pans and pour batter equally into each bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

This might be very delicious with a cinnamon chunky applesauce...haven't tried it yet, but it sure sounds good to me! If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

Friday, February 3, 2012

When Pizza's on a Bagel...

You know the jingle, right? Have you ever had pizza bagels? They are WONDERFUL! I love them! They are the perfect combination of pizza to bagel. I've made pizza bagels before with my big bagels, but the little ones are MUCH better! We had them tonight and even my husband was raving over them. For bagel directions, go here: Bagel Mania. The only difference is that you have to make 18-20 small bagels instead of 8-10 large ones. The rest of the directions are exactly the same. Now, for the pizza bagels:

After you've made your home-made bagels, cut them in half. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread pizza sauce on them, top with cheese, pepperonis or any other preferred toppings. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes and you've got PIZZA BAGELS! We are a "pizza on Friday night" kind of family. Usually, we grill it (or get take-out), but I'm going to shake it up now and then by throwing in pizza bagels. Make them for your family and you can thank me later ;).

Oh...and there are only 132 calories in each mini bagel...not bad for a snack with some light cream cheese and a lot more filling than a granola bar!

Baguettes for the Super Bowl...

These baguettes are AMAZING! I've posted them before, but I have to re-post because I've never found a better baguette recipe. I got this one from my sister and it pretty much rocks. These are great with spinach artichoke dip, bruschetta, even cheesy chip dips are great with these baguettes! I thought I should post this ASAP along with some of my favorite Super Bowl recipes. P.S. for a tutorial on how to cook and puree wheat berries, go here: How to make pureed wheat berries

The orangey cheesy one is Buffalo Chicken Chip Dip. I made this last year and NO ONE knew there was wheat in it!

Buffalo Chicken Chip Dip **L**

4 C cooked chicken (or canned is easy and worked too)

2-8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened 1C either ranch or blue cheese dressing

5 T (or to taste) Frank’s Hot Sauce

2 C Cheddar cheese

1⁄4 cup wheat berry puree

Combined all ingredients except for the cheese. Mix and put into a 13 x 9 pan. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, but don’t forget the celery! **L** Use light cream cheese and ranch dressing

The one with green, is obviously the Spinach Artichoke Dip

Megan's Famous Spinach Artichoke Dip

8 oz. cream cheese

14-oz. canned artichoke hearts, drained

3-4 C steamed spinach, squeezed to remove all water, then chopped

1⁄4 C mayonnaise

1⁄4 C shredded Parmesan

1⁄4 C Romano

1⁄4 C Mozzarella

1 clove garlic, minced

3⁄4 tsp dry basil

1⁄4 tsp garlic salt

2 T wheat berry puree

One hour before beginning to make dip, get cream cheese out to sit at room temperature to soften. Coarsely chop artichoke hearts. Cook spinach, drain and chop. Mix mayonnaise, cream cheese, Parmesan, Romano, Mozzarella, basil, garlic, wheat berry puree and garlic salt. Stir in spinach and artichoke hearts. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Serve with sliced whole wheat French bread.

Note: You can use light mayonnaise and cream cheese for a lighter version of this recipe and it is still just as great!!!

The other pictures are of the baguettes.

Whole Wheat Baguettes

1 C lukewarm water

1 T sugar

11⁄2 tsp yeast

Mix above ingredients together and let sit for about 7 minutes. While the above mixture is sitting, mix the following:

21⁄4 C whole wheat flour

2 tsp gluten

2 tsp dough enhancer

1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add yeast mixture to flour mixture and knead for 8-10 minutes. Let rise for about 45-50 minutes on top of preheated oven. Punch down dough. Roll out to approximately 16X12 inch rectangle. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the rectangle in half and roll up each half tightly from one end to the other lengthwise (this is the long way, which will give you the fewest rolls in the bread). Make diagonal slashes in the top of the bread. Let rise for another 45 minutes to an hour on a greased cookie sheet or until dough has doubled in size (slashes will have expanded to give the typical “French bread” look. Mix 1 T water and 1 egg white and brush this mixture lightly on the surface of the loaves. Bake for 20- 25 minutes. Makes 2 loaves of French baguettes.

The picture with the tomatoes is the fixings for small pesto sandwiches, also in the cookbook. This recipe we had at my friend Jill Whelan's house and we LOVED them (and ate way too many of them because we loved them so much!

Home-made Oatmeal

As I promised, here are the pictures of my home-rolled oats and oatmeal! You start with oat groats...what are oat groats? If you haven't checked my blog a lot, you may not know. Some grains, (i.e. barley, oats) have hulls that must be removed before we can eat them. The whole grain - the hull = groats. So, you start with the groats, which I got for .89 a pound!!! Talk about cheap! (Once you buy the machines required for whole grain cooking...you make up the money so fast!!!) You pour the groats into the machine, crank it up and out come your rolled oats! The cool thing is, you can adjust the size of the rolled oats. So, if you don't have a lot of time, roll them very thin and you have quick oats (what I made this morning before school). If you have more time, roll them thick and cook them longer...SO COOL!!! And...they aren't processed, so all the vitamins and minerals are fresh as can be!!!! I have the Marga Mulino Flaker. Oh...another cool thing...it doesn't just roll oats! Tomorrow, I'll try wheat and let you know how that goes! The possibilities are limitless!

Oh, and yes, that is my four-year-old grinding the oats...as you can tell it is REALLY hard to grind ;)

Did you know?

Oats are REALLY good for you? Also, the less processed, the more healthy...is that a surprise to anyone? We've heard a lot about how oats can lower cholesterol, right...that's been one of the most touted characteristics of oatmeal for as long as I can remember. They are also high in B-vitamins and have vitamin E, fiber and many other vitamins and minerals. But...did you know that they are great for cleaning both the intestinal tract AND the blood? I didn't know that until now and that makes me super excited that my kids ate a nice big bowl of it before school. They are also loaded with complex carbohydrates, which, as you know allow sustained energy and also help control glucose spikes in Diabetics. So, why am I telling you about all this? I did the coolest thing today...I rolled my own oats and cooked them and my kids ate them! I'll show pictures tomorrow of how I did this and where you can get an oat flaker, if you want one.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Baked Potato Soup...mmmm

Believe it or not...this is another new post. I know, I know, its been a while. I just had to get back into cooking again. Does that ever happen to you? My family really loved this soup and I've had to make it a few times per request since the first time. You can substitute sour cream for the Greek yogurt if that is what you have on hand, but I MUCH prefer the yogurt...it is higher in protein and lower in calories. This soup is hearty, delicious and full of whole grains.

The pictures show just how chunky and thick this soup is. They also show how much my kids LOVE it!

Baked Potato Soup

5-6 potatoes (I used large red potatoes, but medium russet potatoes work, too)

1/4 C butter (melted)

1/2 C whole wheat flour

6 C milk

1 1/2 - 2 1/2 tsp. salt (or as desired)

1 1/2 C cheddar cheese

1/3 C plain, nonfat Greek yogurt

1/4 - 1/2 C cooked and chopped bacon (or as desired...my family likes bacon a lot!)

Wash potatoes under water and prick all over with a fork. Bake in 400 degree oven for about an hour or until soft. Let potatoes cool for about 1/2 hour and then scoop out pulp, discarding potato skin. Mash pulp with a fork until chunks are much smaller. Mix 1/4 C of flour with butter over medium heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk together 1/4 C whole wheat flour and 6 C of milk and then add to butter/flour mixture. Stir on high heat until mixture thickens and boils. Remove from heat and stir in mashed potato pulp, whisking until uniformly distributed. Stir in yogurt, bacon and cheese. Add salt and pepper as desired.

Optional toppings:

more bacon

more cheese

chopped green onions

P.S. Thanks to those of you buying my cookbooks! I really appreciate it and hope you love it as much as I do!

P.P.S. I have a TON of recipes for another cookbook and as soon as I get on the wagon again, I may just get the next one published.