Thursday, March 28, 2013

banana muffins--no flour, no sugar

I found the recipe here, via pinterest, and I really like these.  They are not very sweet and that is what I like about them.  If you are looking for a cakey muffin, don't make these.  You will be disappointed.  If you are looking for a healthy way to use up over ripe bananas, this is your recipe.  The first time I made these I used cupcake liners and they totally stuck to the liner, and it was a pain to eat them.  The second time I made them I just sprayed the pans and it worked out better.  We also like to add 1/2 cup chocolate chips and a 1/2 cup walnuts (but my kids have now nixed the nuts...oh, well).
140 cal/muffin (with cchips and nuts)
102 cal/muffin (with cchips)

2.5 cups old fashioned oats 

1 cup plain low fat greek yogurt (I have only used fat free greek yogurt)

2 eggs

1/2 cup honey

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 TBSP ground flax seed

1 tsp vanilla

2 ripe bananas 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray tin with non-stick cooking spray or line 12 muffin tins with silicone or foil liners.
2. Place the oats in the food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds.  Add remaining ingredients to the food processor.
3. Process until everything is mixed together and oats are smooth.
4. Divide batter among cupcake liners, and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

And this is what you get people:

Let them cool on a wire rack for just a few minutes and then dig in.  They are actually really good when they are warm!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

rick bayless tortilla soup

I thought everyone knew who Rick Bayless was, but Jeff had no clue, and Emily didn't know either...but he makes mexican food look healthy and good...

I found the recipe here

Makes 10 cups, serving 6

1 large dried pasilla (negro) chile, stemmed and seeded (the black ones in the grocery store.  I suggest using 1.5 or 2)
One 15-oz can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
2 tblsp vegetable or olive oil
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 quarts chicken broth
1 large sprig fresh epazote, if you have one (I've never found this ingredient)
4 (about 1-1/4 lbs total) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2 inch thick cubes (I have always used a rotisserie chicken)
1 large ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1-1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded Mexican melting cheese, or Monterey Jack, brick or mild cheddar
A generous 4 cups (about 6 oz) roughly broken tortilla chips
1 large lime, cut into 6 wedges, for serving
I also add corn and black beans to give it some more heft.

Quickly toast the chile by turning it an inch or two above an open flame for a few seconds, until its aroma fills the kitchen. (Lacking an open flame, toast it in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing it flat for a few seconds, then flipping it over and pressing it again.) Break the chile into pieces and put in a blender, along with the tomatoes with their juice. (A food processor will work, but it won't completely puree the chile.)

Everytime I make this, I wish I'd done this step first...the onions can cook while you are toasting and pureeing the chile and tomatoes.  Heat the oil in a large (4 quart) saucepan over medium-high. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 7 minutes. Scoop up the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon, pressing them against the side of the pan to leave behind as much oil as possible, and transfer to the blender; set the pan aside. Process until smooth.

Return the pan to medium-high heat. When it is quite hot, add the puree and stir nearly constantly until thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 6 minutes. Add the broth and epazote if using. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt, usually about a generous teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the broth). 

Just before serving, add the chicken to the simmering broth. Divide the avocado, cheese and tortilla chips among the serving bowls. When the chicken is done, ususally about 5 minutes, ladle the soup into the bowls. Pass the lime separately. Rotisserie or grilled chicken can stand in for the raw chicken breasts (add it at the last second). I add the corn, beans and chicken right before serving and just heat til warm. 

We like it with sour cream, cheese, and avocado and of course tortilla chips.  Also, the first time I made this I pretty much assumed my kids wouldn't eat it.  I thought it would be too spicy or they'd think it was weird, but everyone ate it and loved it (even Calvin).  It's really just a chicken taco soup. 

Here's a time saving tip...whenever I make this soup, I double the ingredients up until I blend everything (the tomatoes, chili, onions, garlic).  Then I divide the mixture in two, put one part in the pot and the other part in the freezer.  I don't recommend reducing both mixtures at once, it takes a long time and splatters all over the kitchen making a mess, and almost making this a non time saver.   But when you have a busy day, and need an easy meal, all you have to do is pull the mixture out of the freezer pop it in your pan, reduce it and add the broth, chicken (and beans and corn if you are me)...I always make this on a day that I go to the store, so I always buy a rotisserie chicken.  Easy peasy. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Peanut Sauce

If you like Thai anything or spring rolls, make this sauce. Now. It makes a ton, so I kept it in the fridge and thew it on Pad Thai after we were done with our spring rolls. I actually had everything on hand, which was a miracle. I was licking my fingers. Could drink this stuff actually.

Found the recipe here.

Easy Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe: How to Make My Mom’s Thai Satay Sauce
Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
Serves: 3.5 cups
  • One 13.5-ounce can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 ounces (approximately ¼ cup) of Thai red (mom’s preference and mine too) or Massaman curry paste (milder but flavorful) I used 3-4 T. Red curry paste. Comes in a tiny bottle. Found it at Raleys I think, but I'm sure WINCO would have it too
  • ¾ cup unsweetened (natural) creamy peanut butter (Do not use regular peanut butter. I use Smucker’s natural peanut butter — the kind that comes with natural peanut oil on top.) I used Adams brand. That's what we had in the cupboard
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ¾ cup sugar I think you could do less for sure. It was a bit sweet for me.
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar (Do not use white wine, red wine, balsamic, or anything else — not even rice vinegar)
  • ½ cup water
  1. Put everything into a medium heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a very gentle boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.
  2. Let the mixture simmer for 3-5 minutes over low heat; be careful not to let the mixture scorch at the bottom of the pot.
  3. Take the pot off the heat, let the sauce cool down to room temperature (or slightly warmer), and serve the sauce with satay or fried tofu.
This peanut sauce keeps in a glass container in the refrigerator for weeks. Refrigerated sauce will thicken up considerably. All you have to do is thin it out with a little bit of water to desired consistency, reheat, and serve. The sauce also freezes beautifully. I prefer Maesri red curry paste. But you can also use Mae Ploy red curry paste (it’s hotter). A lot of people like to use massaman curry paste, and you can do that too. Originally, Mom used roasted peanuts, ground up in a mortar and pestle. For those who feel the use of natural peanut butter in this recipe is blasphemous, please feel free to go that route. But then, what is unsweetened, natural peanut butter if not roasted peanuts ground up into a paste? For those living in areas of the world where commercial natural peanut butter is not available, please grind up 12 ounces of roasted peanuts using whatever means most convenient for you. Then use the peanut paste in the same manner as peanut butter as directed.


I love homemade lasagna. Emily and I were saying this weekend that we have used different recipes each time we make it. Emily mixes different recipes together. I kinda did the same. Anyway, I decided to try Pioneer Woman's recipe and it  is a winner. It's not thin and soupy, and stays together well. I love the consistency.

Andy loved all the sausage. I like the sausage in it for sure, but next time will try 1/2 pound instead, with 2 pounds ground beef or whatever I got and see if I like it less sausage-y.

Lasagna (Pioneer Woman)  My comments are red.
  • 1-1/2 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 pound Hot Breakfast Sausage (I used regular, not hot ... I didn't know how hot the "hot" was and I didn't want to risk it being too spicy for the kids. So I just added a few shakes of red pepper flakes into the meat/tomato mixture to simmer)
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 cans (14.5 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes
  • 2 cans (6 Ounce) Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Basil
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 cups Lowfat Cottage Cheese (I prefer cottage cheese over ricotta in lasagna. One reason I really like this dish)
  • 2 whole Beaten Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Grated (not Shredded) Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 pound Sliced Mozzarella Cheese (I just bought a 1lb chunk of mozz and grated it)
  • 1 package (10 Ounce) Lasagna Noodles (You only need 8 noodles for this ... in case you are tempted to boil the whole package like me. You will waste most of it)
  • (add 1/2 Teaspoon Salt And 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil To Pasta Water)

Preparation Instructions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan, combine ground beef, sausage, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until browned. Drain half the fat; less if you’re feeling naughty. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons parsley, basil and salt. After adding the tomatoes, the sauce mixture should simmer for 45 minutes while you are working on the other steps.
In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated Parmesan, 2 more tablespoons parsley, and 1 more teaspoon salt. Stir together well. Set aside. Cook lasagna until “al dente” (not overly cooked).
To assemble:
Arrange 4 cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of a baking pan, overlapping if necessary. Spoon half the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread evenly. Cover cottage cheese with a layer of mozzarella cheese. Spoon a little less than half the meat/sauce mixture over the top.
Repeat, ending with meat/sauce mixture. Sprinkle top generously with extra Parmesan.
Either freeze, refrigerate for up to two days, or bake immediately: 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until top is hot and bubbly.

This filled my 9x13 pan to the brim.

I really loved this recipe, but am wondering if anyone else has a superb recipe that they always use. If you do, please post. Otherwise, I will stick to this one from now on. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Recipe here


  • 4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt


  1. Put butter in bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium; add sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well, about 5 minutes total. Add vanilla and salt. Raise speed to medium-high; beat until smooth, about 1 minute more.

That's some good frosting. I never now what recipe to use, so this is gonna be my go to. I think you can definitely half it and be good to go. It makes a lot!