Thursday, September 27, 2012

Artichoke and Garlic Hummus

Hummus is really good stuff. It's great on crackers, a slice of bread, with veggies, in a sandwich, or simply on its own. It's loaded with protein and is the perfect snack. I love how I can whip up a batch in no time thanks to my awesome Vitamix. Homemade hummus is delicious and guests are always impressed when I serve it.

Artichoke and Garlic Hummus

Yield:  2 cups

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, reserve liquids
  • 1/2 c artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/4 c raw sesame seeds
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • salt, to taste
  1. Drain garbanzo beans into a measuring cup and reserve the liquid. 
  2. Place all ingredients and only HALF the reserved liquid into a Vitamix blender or use a food processor.
  3. Blend 2-3 minutes. If consistency is too thick, add a little more of the reserved liquid. Blend another 1-2 minutes or until ingredients come together with creamy hummus consistency. Do not add too much liquid or hummus will be watery.
Note:  The two garlic cloves gives the hummus a nice garlicky, spicy kick. We love garlic and the amount was perfect!

Source:  Adapted from Vitamix Whole Food Recipes book

Monday, September 24, 2012

Amish White Bread

I've baked sandwich bread several times and I've even tried several different recipes.  Walter's White Bread was our favorite but we definitely have a new favorite now. Move over, Walter, here comes Amish White Bread. Seriously, this bread is tasty! The bread has a nice, tall rise, it's light, fluffy and has a hint of sweet. It reminds me of Hokkaido Soft Bread from Japan. The bread was easy to make since I used my stand mixer. Try this bread. You won't regret it.

The smell of fresh bread is amazing...mmmmmm.........

Soft. Airy. Perfect.

Amish White Bread

Yield: 2 loaves

  • 2 c warm water (Hot water will kill the yeast, and if it's not warm enough, yeast will not activate.)
  • 1/2 c sugar (I'll experiment with 1/4 c next time.)
  • 1 1/2 tbs active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 6 c bread flour

  1. In stand mixer bowl with paddle attachment, pour in warm water then sugar. Stir till sugar dissolves.
  2. Add yeast and stir. Allow yeast to proof and look foamy.
  3. Add salt and oil and stir.
  4. Mix in one cup of flour at a time. When all six cups are added and dough comes together, stop mixer and change to dough hook attachment.
  5. Knead for 3-5 minutes or until dough forms a nice ball. If it's too wet, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. Don't add too much flour or knead too long or the bread will be dense after baking.
  6. When dough is ready, remove bowl from stand mixer, set aside dough and spray the bowl with oil. 
  7. Place dough back into oiled bowl, spray top of dough with a little oil, cover with damp, clean cloth, and set bowl in warm, draft-free area. Let rise for one hour or until doubled in size.
  8.  Punch dough down and divide in half.
  9. Shape dough into loaves- On floured surface, roll out dough into a rectangle the same width as the loaf pan. Start on the short end of the rectangle and start rolling tightly. Pinch the ends and bottom of roll to seal edges. Place in oiled 9x5" loaf pans seam-side down.
  10. Let prepared dough rise for 30 minutes or until dough has risen 1" above the pans.
  11. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Bread is done when golden brown on top. To check if they're baked through, put on oven mitts and slide loaf out of pan. Remove one mitt and tap on bottom of loaf with thumb. It should sound hollow. If it sounds hollow, place loaves on cooling rack and cool completely.
  12. DO NOT CUT BREAD UNTIL FULLY COOLED. It's tempting but you gotta wait. :)
  13. If loaves will not be eaten within three days, put bread in the fridge. You don't want moldy bread. Bread must be fully cooled before going into a ziploc bag. In the past, I sliced the entire loaf before putting it in the ziploc but I read that it's better to keep the loaf whole and slice bread as needed. It supposedly keeps the bread from drying out. We shall see...

Source:  allrecipes

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Guacamole" Chicken Salad Sandwich

Son #2 with food allergies has never eaten a chicken salad sandwich because of the mayonnaise that's in it. While surfing Pinterest, I found a recipe for chicken salad sandwiches that uses mashed avocado instead of mayo. GENIUS! It's like a chicken and guacamole sandwich. What's not to love about that?! My boys love guac but I wasn't sure how they'd take to chicken and guac in a sandwich. They actually really liked it and ate it up! This was Son #2's first time eating "chicken salad." I love when I can make "firsts" happen for him. It makes me so happy when he can enjoy foods that many of us eat without thinking twice about the ingredients. 

A hot dog bun was the perfect size for our sandwiches.

"Guacamole" Chicken Salad Sandwich

  • bread/buns
  • lettuce
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or diced
  • 1-2 avocados, mashed
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • 2 tbs celery, sliced
  • 2 tbs red onion, diced
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • seasoned salt and pepper to taste

  1. Prep chicken and set aside in large bowl.
  2. Place avocados and remaining ingredients in medium bowl and mix thoroughly to make "guacamole."
  3. Mix avocado mixture into chicken bowl and mix till you have a good "chicken salad" consistency. 
  4. Put mixture on bread and ENJOY!

Source: Adapted from Becoming Betty

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fried Rice

I love a great fried rice and I have yet to taste a delicious fried rice like my grandma used to make. Fried rice always makes me think of my grams and the numerous times I watched her make it. She would use an old wok that had years and years of seasoning cooked into it. The first thing she'd do is fry up chopped bacon. When the bacon was done, she'd scoop it out and place it on paper towels. She'd pour the bacon fat into a glass bowl and reserve it for frying up the rice. With the grease that was left in the wok, she'd scramble up some eggs and set it aside when done. Then came a generous amount of that bacon fat and close to half a stick of butter. She'd heat it up and then throw in the cooked rice and sprinkle some soy sauce over the rice. When the rice was crisp and ready, she'd add the bacon, eggs, and some corn or other veggies and mix it all in. Her rice was flavorful and had the perfect fried rice texture which is so hard to achieve. It was THE BEST! I don't make fried rice with all that bacon fat and butter but it was sooooooo good....... 

Because I had leftover filling from making won tons, I used that in my fried rice. My version of fried rice is definitely not like my grams' but it turned out pretty good. Son #2 with food allergies tried fried rice for the first time! He can never order it when we go out because of the egg that's in it and the shared equipment it's prepared on even if the restaurant made it egg-free. Both boys LOVED it!

Not like grams' but tasty nonetheless.

Fried Rice

  • cooked short-grain rice (Calrose or Nishiki brands are good.)
  • 2 tbs sesame oil (might need more if making a big batch of fried rice)
  • 1-2 tbs butter, optional
  • 1/3 c green onions, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 can corn, drained (or peas and carrots or veggie of choice)
  • won ton filling (see prior post) or bacon, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cook rice according to directions.
  2. Heat sesame oil and butter in large pan or wok and add rice. Let rice fry for 3-4 minutes or until bottom starts to look brown.
  3. Using a wide spatula, carefully turn rice over and fry other side another 3-4 minutes.
  4. At this time, stir rice around so the rest of the rice can get fried. If more oil is needed, push rice to edges and add a little oil in center of pan. After oil heats up, stir rice into the oil and mix around until rice is coated. Continue frying rice until rice has a good, crisp texture. ENJOY!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Won Ton Soup

Because I had leftover won ton wrappers from the "egg rolls" I made the other day, I decided to make won tons for won ton soup. I've never made won tons but figured I should be able to put them together since I've helped my mom make gyoza (Japanese potstickers) a while back. Their filling seems to be the same but they're just shaped differently. I used a filling recipe from my mom and then found a site on Pinterest so I could learn how to do the won ton wrap. 

I used an open package of won ton wrappers so I ended up with leftover filling mixture. That wasn't such a bad thing because I cooked up the filling and then made fried rice with it. I'll post that recipe next. :) It was the perfect complement to the won ton soup! I boiled four won tons per person and froze the rest. I'm stoked that I have frozen won tons that I can cook up at a later time. The prep time took a little longer than expected but at least I get two meals out of it. :)

I was a little worried that the won tons would fall apart when I boiled them but they held up. Only two won tons fell apart during boiling. :)

This picture makes me smile. 

Won Tons

  • 1 lb ground chicken or pork (I used ground turkey because that's what I had in the fridge.)
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • 2 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs ginger, grated
  • 1/4 c green onions, chopped (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tbs corn starch
  • won ton wrappers
  • small bowl of water
  • soup ingredients and recipe below....If you're making won ton soup, get the broth started first.

  1. Prep baking sheet with flour so won tons don't stick.
  2. Put first six ingredients in food processor and blend well. If you don't have a food processor, mix well in large bowl.
  3. Place individual won ton wrappers on dry cutting board. Try not to get the board or won ton wrappers wet or they'll get gooey and fall apart when you handle them.
  4. Use a tablespoon to measure out filling mixture. Place in center of won ton wrapper.
  5. Dip finger in bowl of water and wet two sides of wrapper. Fold up dry side to form a triangle.
  6. Press thumb in middle of won ton and join the two corners together. Wet one of the corners so they stay together. See picture above if this doesn't make sense. Place won tons on prepared baking sheet.
  7. Continue wrapping the won tons till you run out of filling or the wrappers.
  8. Boil pot of water and boil won tons a few at a time. Do not overcrowd or they won't cook well.
  9. Place in soup bowls and ladle chicken broth over won tons. Add additional green onions to taste. 

Notes:  If you have leftover filling, you can make little patties or cook it up like ground beef. I cooked it like ground beef and made fried rice with it. YUM! 
You can also fry the won tons if you prefer a crispy appetizer.

Source: Adapted from Simple Indian Recipes.


  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 1/8 c soy sauce
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 1" piece of peeled ginger
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  1. Place all ingredients in large pot/dutch oven and bring to a boil.
  2. When broth boils, turn heat down and simmer.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Baked "Egg Rolls"

Son #2 has severe allergies to eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish. Because of his egg allergy, he has never been able to order egg rolls at Chinese restaurants. Well, that changed when I made him "egg rolls" using won ton wrappers. It was definitely harder to make little egg rolls since the won ton wrapper is so much smaller than the egg roll wrapper. I also had to put less filling in the rolls which made wrapping a little challenging. Son #2 was really stoked to try egg rolls. It was definitely worth the trouble to make egg rolls because Son #2's face lit up as he enjoyed every bite.

Served the mini "egg rolls" with sweet chili sauce, coconut rice, and veggies.

Baked "Egg Rolls" 

Yield: 20 rolls

  • 1 package Broccoli Slaw
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • chicken, cooked and sliced
  • won ton wrappers 
  • small bowl of water
  • spray oil

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line baking sheet with foil and spray with oil.
  2. Heat sesame oil in large pan.
  3. I had leftover chicken from the night before so I sliced it lengthwise and added that to the broccoli slaw.
  4. Stir fry broccoli slaw till slightly tender about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Lay out a few won ton wrappers on cutting board.
  6. Place a little broccoli/chicken mixture on end closest to you. Don't put in too much filling.
  7. Roll carefully and when you get to the other end, dip finger in the bowl of water and moisten the end so it sticks when you close the roll. Place on baking sheet.
  8. Repeat rolling "egg rolls" until you run out of broccoli slaw mixture.
  9. When all rolls are placed on the baking sheet, spray lightly with oil.
  10. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

After a shredded carrot baking marathon, the boys asked if I could bake something without carrots. Because I was still on an oatmeal kick, I wanted to try the Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins. They were thinking more along the lines of sweet, frosted cake, cupcakes, or cookies. Instead, I baked them oatmeal muffins. Son #1 wasn't thrilled at first but he was happy to see the addition of chocolate chips. The muffins were perfect little oatmeal bites and the boys thought they were yummy.

Oatmeal + Chocolate Chips = Smiles!

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1 c milk + 1 tbs apple cider vinegar = "buttermilk"- measure milk, add vinegar, and set aside for 5 minutes.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 c oatmeal
  • 1/4 - 1/2 c packed brown sugar (amount of sweetness is up to you)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2 c chocolate chips (1/2 c seems too chocolatey)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and spray muffin tin with oil.
  2. In a large bowl, mash bananas, add "buttermilk," and vanilla.
  3. In another large bowl, combine oatmeal, brown sugar, and salt and mix well.
  4. Slowly add oatmeal mixture to banana mixture and mix well. Do not overmix.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. I used a Pampered Chef Medium Scoop to drop muffin mixture into tin.
  7. Bake 18-20 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. When muffins are ready, remove from oven and cool IN the tin on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.  After cooling period, remove muffins from tin and place on cooling rack to cool completely. Use the toothpick to loosen edges of muffins away from the tin. ENJOY!
Source: Adapted from Fitness Magazine.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Carrot Coconut Pineapple Bread

In addition to all the shredded carrots we needed to consume, I had bananas from Costco that were ripe and ready to eat. I'm pretty sure my boys deliberately let the bananas sit and get really ripe in hopes I'll make them into baked goods. :) When I'm not up for baking, I peel, slice, and freeze bananas and throw in a handful when I make drinks with my Vitamix. I love my Vitamix!!!!! Anyways, I was up for baking since I was on a shredded carrot baking extravaganza. 

The carrot coconut bread was the perfect combination of carrot, coconut, and pineapple. They were moist and the boys really enjoyed it. When I pulled it out of the oven, it had a nice rise but five minutes later, it was pretty flat making the bread pretty dense. No complaints though as it was really yummy anyways.

Carrot Coconut Pineapple Bread
yield: 1 loaf

  • 2 bananas, mashed (or you can use 2 eggs)
  • 1 1/4 c shredded carrots
  • 1 c sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 c reduced fat sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and spray 9x5" loaf pan with oil.
  2. Mash bananas in a large bowl.
  3. Add carrots, coconut, butter, sour cream, and vanilla. If using eggs, add them during this step. Mix well.
  4. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 
  5. Slowly mix the carrot mixture into the flour mixture. Combine well but do not overmix.
  6. Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or till top is brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Cool 20-30 minutes IN the pan on a rack. After bread has had a chance to cool, pull out of pan and cool on rack.
  8. Put in airtight container after bread is completely cool. Do NOT slice until bread is cool.
Source: Adapted from "Easy. Everyday. Eats."
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