Friday, June 29, 2012

Snickerdoodle Cookies

I made these tonight for something we call Family Home Evening.  Its a night where we share scriptures or scripture stories as a family.  A treat is a fundamental aspect of Family Home Evening, as every member of my church will tell you.  Anyway, tonight, I made these.  Tifani is one of my greatest friends from graduate school.  We lived near each other at a time when none of us had family and we had to rely on each other to be our family.  I LOVE this girl...and when she makes something and says, "its really good" always is.  Well, she made these cookies for us and they were SO GOOD!!!  So, they made it into the recipe book, but I have to confess, I haven't made them in years!  Tonight, I pulled out my cookbook and got the recipe out and made them and yep, they were just as good as I remembered them.  They are slightly flatter than your white flour snickerdoodle, but the taste is right on!  They are amazing and definitely worth a try in your kitchen this week!

Tifani's Delicious Snickerdoodles

1⁄2 C butter, softened
1⁄2 C brown sugar, packed 
1⁄4 C white sugar 
1 egg 
11⁄2 tsp vanilla extract 
11⁄2 C finely-ground whole wheat flour 
1⁄2 tsp baking soda 
1⁄2 tsp cream of tartar 
1/8 tsp salt 
3 T white sugar 
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugars together. Add egg and vanilla and beat. Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt) and beat into wet ingredients. Roll into 1-inch balls. Mix cinnamon and sugar. Roll balls in cinnamon mixture. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes.

P.S.  For a slightly thicker cookie, you can add up to 2 T of whole wheat flour and mix it right in.  I like them just fine without the extra flour, but if presentation is your thing...go ahead and add it!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Artichoke Chicken Bake

Here is another recipe straight out of my cookbook.  This one was a huge hit with my husband and my parents.  It is delicious and easy and if you love artichokes (like my husband), this will quickly make it into your "family favorites" repertoire.  

P.S.  I am starting to compile recipes for my next if you've been waiting for some of the recipes on my blog to be bound into a book, don't worry, its coming. 

Artichoke Chicken Bake

1⁄4 C onion, finely chopped 
2 garlic cloves, minced 
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
1/3 C whole wheat flour 
1 tsp salt 
11⁄4 tsp paprika 
1⁄2 tsp rosemary 
1/8 tsp pepper 
1⁄2 C chicken broth 
1⁄4 C apple juice 
1-7.5 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix onion and garlic together. Pour into 13X9 pan. Mix flour, salt and spices and put in a gallon-sized baggie. Put chicken in baggie and shake to coat. Lay on top of onions and garlic in pan. Mix chicken broth and apple juice and pour over chicken. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Chop artichoke hearts. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle artichoke hearts over chicken. Cook for another 15-20 minutes.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Snickerdoodle Muffins

We've been in the middle of a move and life is about as crazy as it can get.  We just got the internet today, so pretty soon, I'll be back to normal with my blog.  I made these muffins before we ever moved, knowing that life would be crazy for a while.  Even though its been about a month or more since I made these, I remember clearly how I felt about them.  They were SOOO good!  I don't know what else to say.  They tasted like dessert and my kiddos LOVED them!  If you love snickerdoodle'll love these!

P.S.  I also have a wonderful Snickerdoodle cookie recipe that I'll post sometime soon!!!

Snickerdoodle Muffins

3 C freshly ground whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C oil
1/2 C applesauce
3 eggs
3/4 C vanilla greek yogurt (can do plain, too)
2 C sugar
1 T vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 pkg. Hershey's cinnamon chips
Cinnamon/sugar mixture (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix all ingredients except cinnamon chips.  Stir in cinnamon chips.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture on top of muffins, if desired.

Note: These muffins are a little temperamental.  Sometimes they are the perfect shape, sometimes they turn out a little flat.  They taste FABULOUS!  It is always a good idea to bake one muffin first. If the muffin is too flat, or has a dip in the middle, add flour starting with 2 T until desired consistency is reached.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Presentation is Everything...Another "Green" Smoothie Fix!!!

Okay, this is genius.  I know that sounds conceited, but there is really no other way to describe the brainstorm I had today.  Am I a genius, heavens no...but this idea...well, it is!  If you are a frequent green smoothie maker, you know there is one major problem...those green smoothies, although good, are spotted from a mile away and immediately categorized outside of the realm of "yummy" smoothie.  These smoothies are usually some form of brown.  Bummer!  Kids immediately recognize it as food of the "enemy".  Enter today's brainstorm...okay, lets backtrack a little.  A few weeks back I got a certain vegetable that I know is nutritionally power-packed...its incredible for our bodies.  They offer Glycine betaine, which is great for your heart, folates, necessary for DNA synthesis in our bodies, vitamin-C a powerful antioxidant, many B vitamins (B-3, B-5, B-5), iron, manganese, magnesium and potassium.  Yep, its one of those veggies we should all eat, but MOST don't love.  Its color is a deep red.  What is it???  Beets!!!  I got a bunch of beets in my Bountiful Basket.  What to do...what to do?  Who likes beets?  Well, I decided to puree them.  Here's what I did:

I brought a pot of water to a full boil
Cut the tops of the beets
Boiled them for 20-30 minutes until tender
Let them cool and rinse with cold water
Peel skins off
Pureed them with some of the beet water (just enough to get a good smooth consistency)

Now...for my green smoothie

2 frozen pellets of kale and spinach using this method.
1/4 of a honeydew melon
5-10 frozen strawberries
about 1-1 1/2 C water
1 frozen banana
5-10 frozen 1 inch. chunks of pineapple
1 pear
1 orange

This smoothie made for a nasty brown color...ENTER THE BEETS!!!!  I added about 1/4 C of pureed beets and VOILA!  A smoothie my kids LOVED because it had a bright red color!  It looked just like a Jamba Juice Smoothie!!!

P.S.  That frozen fruit is fruit that I realized was getting too ripe and being eaten too infrequently...those fruits are AWESOME for green smoothies!!!

P.P.S.  You could probably use raw beets, and it would be even healthier!  I never have done it, though.  If someone does, please tell me how it turns out!!!

UPDATE!!!!  My husband just came home, drank the smoothie and said, "mmm...raspberry"...yep, that's what it looks like!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken

This is my mom's recipe for teriyaki chicken and it is AMAZING.  The only difference is that she doesn't use the crockpot and she uses the directions for the thicker sauce.  Her teriyaki chicken is baked in the oven, not in the crockpot, but when you are a busy mom, sometimes crockpots are a must!  The first time I made this, I didn't think it would work.  At least I was worried that it wouldn't.  I had soccer practice that night with my kiddos and needed a fast meal, but wanted it to be somewhat healthy.  So, I thought I'd try it out.  It was INCREDIBLE!  I LOVE CROCKPOT MEALS!

As for that purple rice, you have to be wondering, "what is up with the purple rice?".  Well, it is actually called black rice and has been a favorite in Asian cuisine for many years.  For us, though, until very recently, it was difficult to find.  The coolest thing about this rice, besides the fact that it is purple, is that it is astoundingly healthy for you!  Among the health benefits are prevention of many, many major diseases.  To name a few, black rice helps protect the body from cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimers.  It is also high in both iron and fiber...two things my body always needs!
Pretty awesome, huh.  So why don't you pull out that crockpot, go buy some black rice and make this teriyaki chicken for dinner tonight!

Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken

1/2 C soy sauce
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 C brown sugar
2 tsp ginger
2 cloves garlic

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Mix sauce in crockpot.  Place frozen or thawed chicken breasts on top...coating once in sauce.  Turn crockpot to low and cook until chicken is thawed.  Trim fat off of chicken and return to crockpot.  Every two hours or so, flip chicken over to coat each side of the chicken.  Cook for 4-6 hours, or until chicken is done.  Serve with rice and broccoli.  Spoon sauce over chicken and broccoli, if desired.  We like it that way.

For thicker sauce:  Remove chicken.  Let sauce cool.  Stir in cornstarch and reheat, stirring constantly until sauce thickens.  Add chicken and heat until hot again.  I just use the thinner is delicious, but if you prefer a thicker sauce...go for it!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Home-Made Churros

I'd never really thought of making churros.  I guess I thought they were like carnival food and there was some magic churro machine, located at said carnival, that I would never own.  However, thanks to another Pinterest post, I found out I could make them at home.  I made these yummy treats for an after-school snack for my kiddos...back when they were in school.  They were a HUGE HIT!!!  They were pretty easy, too, but I had one major problem. The insides didn't get done as fast as the outsides...they were still doughy.  However, after baking them in the oven (as my instructions indicate), the inside was perfect and  man-oh-man were they yummy!!!

Home-Made Churros

Mix together:

1 C water
1/3 C butter
1 1/2 T brown sugar (packed)
1/2 tsp. salt

And bring those ingredients to a boil until butter completely melts.  Remove from heat and stir in:

1 C freshly, finely ground whole wheat flour

Stir vigorously until dough forms a ball and leaves sides of pan, then stir in

1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Stir vigorously again until mixture is completely blended.

Heat 2-3 inches of oil in a large pan until it is about 370 degrees (between 360 and 375).  Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.  Pipe dough through an icing bag fitted with a star tip onto wax paper.  Each dough segment should be about 3/4 in. to 1 in. thick and about 4-5 inches long.  Fry for 2 - 3 minutes or until golden brown, moving around periodically with metal tongs so they are evenly baked.  Remove with metal tongs and place on paper towel to drain.  Roll in mixture of the following:

1/4 C granulated sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Bake in 300 degree oven for 10 - 15 minutes so inside is completely done.  If it is still a little moist inside, put it in for a few more minutes.  YUM!

Here are some pictures of the process:

The above picture shows the piped churro dough on the waxed paper.

The above picture shows the churros frying at around 365-375 degrees.  Fry them for 2-3 minutes or until deep golden can do it a little longer if desired...but don't get them too done.  Remember to bake them at 300 degrees for 10-15 minutes after rolling in cinnamon sugar and then serve warm...DELICIOUS!!!