Sunday, January 29, 2012

Belly-Stuffing Peanut Butter Oatmeal

This weekend I was in my kitchen a lot.  But, since some of the recipes won't be delivered to their recipients until later on this week, I'm not blogging them tonight.  You'll have to wait!

Today I'm sharing an oatmeal recipe.  It does as it promises -- it's filling, and satisfying enough to stave off morning grazing until I get around to making lunch.  It makes for a relatively quick, easy Sunday brunch recipe, and can be topped with whatever tempts you that morning as sweetener.  I chose maple syrup, because peanut butter and maple syrup belong together, in my mind...

Belly-Stuffing  Peanut Butter Oatmeal
Makes: 6 servings

2 cups old fashioned oats
2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup water
4 Tbsp natural peanut butter
sweetener of choice (agave, maple syrup, etc.)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat an 8x8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a bowl, combine oats and cinnamon. In another bowl, beat eggs and add milk, water, and peanut butter. Add to the oats, pour mixture into dish, and bake for 20 minutes.

Drizzle with 2 tablespoons agave syrup or maple syrup to serve.

 Source: Women's Health Online.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Honey-Cranberry Chicken with Orange-Paprika Rice

I was browsing online at lunch this week, looking for recipes.  It was grey and ugly outside so I'd skipped my lunch walk, and my book wasn't speaking to me.  I stumbled upon this recipe, and thought it sounded like it'd be great! Plus, I have all of that stuff on hand, right? Nothing too exotic, really.  Yeah, no.  I was almost out of chicken.  I only had one chicken breast left, so the pics look a little strange.  The recipe though, yum! It's a definite repeat!  I loved the rice too -- orange and paprika didn't really speak to be on paper, but the final product was so good I was glad there were leftovers!

I can't believe it's nearly the end of January.  I'll be in pursuit of a great plain chocolate ice cream recipe and either brownies or Nanaimo bars for my sister's birthday, the 1st of February.  I'm looking forward to using my ice cream maker again, especially since I just bought the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream cookbook.

I'm half-way through my cake decorating course, and a little sad... once this one's done, there won't be any more until May!  But, there are lots of birthdays in between now and then, so I'll get in lots of practice before the level 4 course.  For now, very un-cake-like suppers will have to tide over my desire to create.

Honey-Cranberry Chicken with Orange-Paprika Rice
Makes: 4 servings

1 cup brown rice
zest from one orange (or 1 tsp dried zest)
juice from one orange (or 3 - 5 Tbsp orange juice)
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp sea salt, divided
1 cup whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 4 equal portions (TIP from source: Butterfly breasts into halves if they are more than 1-inch thick.)
2 tbsp raw honey
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp dried sage

Cook rice according to package directions, first adding zest to pot when you add water. When rice is cooked through, remove from heat and stir in orange juice, paprika and 1/2 tsp salt.

Chop cranberries and set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium for 1 minute. Add chicken, swirl to coat in oil and sauté for 3 minutes or until chicken begins to turn golden brown. Flip breasts over and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add cranberries, honey, 1/4 cup water, mustard, sage and remaining 1/2 tsp salt to chicken. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 12 minutes. Cut into thickest part of breast to check for doneness. If still pink, continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove chicken from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Continue cooking sauce for another 10 minutes or until it has reduced to a thick paste. Mound out 3/4 cup rice onto each of 4 plates. Serve 4 oz chicken topped with 1 tbsp cranberry sauce.

Source: Clean Eating Magazine, online.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Onesie Cookies

Halfway through the week before the baby shower, I got the idea to bake cookies, too.  So I started looking through my cookie cutters and found the perfect one: a onesie.  So, with a little creativity, some pink, white, and yellow royal icing, and an overnight thaw of the roll-out cookie dough I had in my freezer, I was good to go.  I think they turned out pretty well, don't you?

I baked the cookies.
I piped the outlines.
 I flooded and filled the cookies.

I decorated the cookies.
And I packed 'em up for the party.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Baby Shower Cake

Today, I had a baby shower to attend that I made the cake for.  The flowers for the cake needed to be done in advance. The night I planned on making flowers, the power went out so I didn't get them done.  I like being prepared, especially with my cake due for the shower, so it was making me a little nervous.  I'd have hated to disappoint.  Lucky for me, with a little schedule-shuffling, my cake was done in time, and the shower went really well.  The hostess can be very proud of herself, she did an amazing job!!

One really clever idea the hostess had was for everyone to bring a children's book in place of a card, with a message to the family inside.  I loved this idea!  I brought Harold and the Purple Crayon, but was really torn between that and If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, another childhood favourite of mine.  I remember Mom reading Only One Woof, too, when I was really little, so I'm hoping this baby will have fond memories of the books she's receiving today.

For the cake, I made a simple spice cake (sugar and spice are what little girls are supposed to be made of, right?) and did fondant double button flowers to pair with it.  I added some lemon flavouring to the buttercream icing and it really worked out well.  I'm not posting the cake recipe.  It was a pain to do as a layer cake, and works much, much better as a sheet cake.  So, if I'm in need of one later, I'll post it then.  I will however, share the pictures with you!

I baked and iced the cake, giving it a crumb coat and cleverly dodging the cats by hiding in a bedroom where they couldn't get in...
I added the basketweave.
 Then I added the border to the bottom.
I added the flowers and leaves, then packed it up for transport.  I'm happy with how the cake turned out.  The new baby's mother was too!

Source of inspiration: Wilton's Cake Decorating course 2, Flowers & Cake Design.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lemon Paprika Shrimp with couscous

My cupboards are bare.  My fridge is empty.  It's kind of embarrassing... It's really unlike me.  But it's been cold, and I've been busy, and ... yeah, I didn't shop.  Trying new recipes gets harder that way!

It's been cold.  Really cold.  Cold enough my snowshoeing was cancelled.  Cold enough my weekly walks were cancelled!  Crazy, huh? But, luckily, this means the canal's open! I'm looking forward to a good, long skate and a Beavertail and a hot chocolate at the end.  It's nearly Winterlude time.  There's snow on the ground, and I still haven't been out snowshoeing in Gatineau Park.  This must be remedied! 

To get around the urge to hibernate, I cooked something a little unseasonal tonight.  It's easy, and only required that I buy zucchini.  Despite my empty cupboards and fridge, I actually had everything else on hand.

Lemon Paprika Shrimp with zucchini and couscous
Makes: 4 servings

1 cup whole-wheat couscous
1 lemon, halved, divided
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp paprika
2 baby zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half moons
1 Tbsp olive oil
sea salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste

Cook couscous according to package directions, fluff with fork, cover, and set aside.
Thinly slice half of lemon and place in a plastic resealable bag.  Add shrimp, oil, paprika, salt, and pepper to bag and shake to combine.
Bring a quarter-cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, add zucchini and steam until tender, two minutes.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Pour shrimp mixture (excluding lemon) into skillet, spread in a single layer and cook for two minutes per side until shrimp starts to curl.  Add juice from remaining half lemon and toss to combine.
Mound couscous on a large serving platter, top with zucchini, shrimp, lemon slices, and any juices from pan.  Serve immediately.

Source: Best of Clean Eating Magazine page 113.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sunflower Cranberry Oatmeal

I like oatmeal.  You may remember the oat branthe porridge or the baked oatmeal?  I eat oatmeal a lot.  It's easy, it's cheap, and it can be made in large quantities so I don't have to cook it up every morning in my rush out the door.  I fills me up, warms me up, and is good for me.  What's not to love?

Thing is, oatmeal's not sexy.  It's not a gourmet meal.  It's not something I can take fancy pictures of and have you drooling over.  Nope.  Oatmeal's one of those things you either love or you don't... and even though I do, sometimes I get bored with it.  So what's a girl to do?

The lucky thing with oatmeal is it's so versatile.  It's like my favourite jeans -- it goes with nearly everything.  I can make it sweet or savoury.  I can have it hot or cold.  I can add milk, or water, or yogurt.  I can add fruits or eggs.  I can pretty well go nuts, and then add them too!  With a little help from with world wide web, that's what I'm doing today. 

Sunflower Cranberry Oatmeal
Makes: 1 serving

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 Tbsp sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp dried cranberries
1 cup 1% milk

Add all ingredients to a bowl.

 Cover, and let sit overnight.

What could be easier than that?

Source: Women's Health Magazine Online.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Roasted Eggplant & Kale Penne

I am a disbeliever in the common thought that Mondays suck.  I don't usually have a problem with Mondays.  I'm usually alert, rested from my weekend, and while I wish the weekends were longer, I don't blame Mondays for being Mondays.  Tuesdays however are a different story.

Tuesday, is when it all catches up to me.  Tuesday my body feels the drag for my shifted hours from the weekend.  Tuesday feels the pains of the exercise I had the extra time to try out on the weekend, or the somnolence that comes with getting not quite enough sleep Sunday night because I slept in Sunday morning. By Tuesday, I'm really back at work.  By Tuesday, I have to be fully "there", regardless of distraction, excitement, or event going on in my non-work life.

This Tuesday's going to be out for me.  I can feel it, and it's only Monday night.

Sunday was great.  Sunny, beautiful, and crisp.  Too cold with the wind to do the whole distance planned for my weekend walk, but an enjoyable trip for the part I did walk.  I had a great visit and meal with the ladies after, and a trip to Luna after that.  Saturday I slept in, enjoyed great company for dinner, and saw a new movie. 

My weekend was worth it.  But still, Tuesdays suck.

Roasted Eggplant & Kale Penne
Makes: 6 servings

2 Tbsp pine nuts
1 eggplant, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil, divided
sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
8 oz whole-wheat penne pasta
1 bunch kale, stems and stalks removed
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 oz reduced-fat feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400F.  Spread pine nuts on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, careful not to burn, three minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and set aside.
 Drizzle eggplant with one tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to combine.  Spread eggplant out in a single layer.  Roast in oven at 400F, stirring once, until soft and starting to brown, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook penne according to package directions, until tender but firm.  Reserve half-cup cooking water and drain pasta. 

Chop kale roughly.  Heat remaining 1 tsp oil in a large skilled over medium-high heat.  Add crushed pepper and garlic and cook 1 minute.  Using tongs,  fold in kale and season with salt and black pepper.  Add 1 tablespoon water and cook, stirring occasionally, until kale wilts and becomes soft, about three minutes.
 In a large serving bowl, combine penne, kale, eggplant, and pine nuts, and 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water, adding more if necessary. Top with feta and serve.

Source: Best of Clean Eating Magazine, page 88.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Roasted Sweet Potato Fries

Okay, the 'shine' of being back to work has worn off... today was definitely a work day.  But that's all good.  That's how it goes, right?  I got in a great workout though, despite going in thinking I was too tired.  Those are the best ones! I love the little zip of energy I get from a good workout.

Today's recipe is a healthier version of french fries... it's another side dish, because I wanted something simple.  Paired with a nice sirloin steak from my parent's farm, and some fresh steamed vegetables, it was a great supper.  Really simple to make.  The longest part was waiting on the oven -- which provided the right amount of time to cook my steak.  Yum!

Roasted Sweet Potato Fries
Makes: 4 servings

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chili powder

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Cut sweet potatoes into approximately 16 pieces.

In a small bowl, mix together the oil and chili powder.  Using a pastry brush, coat each potato slice with the oil mixture and place on the baking sheet.
Bake 30 minutes, turning wedges several times during roasting so they cook evenly.

Source: adapted from Best of Clean Eating Magazine, page 149.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Green Bean and Potato Salad

Today was the first day back in the swing of my normal routine.  A go to work, go to the gym day.  After living on a totally random, mostly sickness-dictated eat/sleep/live schedule the past week or so, I was expecting today would be more of a drag... but nope, today was a great day!  I had a productive work day, had a nice visit with some of my coworkers about their time off (only about half are back this week), and faced the gym.  Really it's the gym I was most worried about -- I mean really, the gym in January?!  But I guess I got lucky, because while it was busier than usual when I went, it wasn't unbearable, or excessively competitive for machines.  I put in a good effort, and feel better for it.   Three cheers to great days!!

Supper tonight wasn't all that interesting -- I was expecting to be brain-dead -- so it was just roasted fish with this side dish.  It is pretty quick to throw together, doesn't require anything different from what I'd normally have on hand, and tastes great.  It's an easy one to throw into the rotation.

Green Bean and Potato Salad
Makes: 4 servings

2/3 pound redskin potatoes, (about 4 potatoes), scrubbed well and diced
1/3 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp minced red onion
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
dash sea salt and ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

Fill a pot with 1 inch of water and fit with a steamer basket.  Add potatoes to steamer basket and bring water to a boil.  Cover and steam for10 minutes.  Add beans, cover and steam for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, Dijon, thyme, onion, salt, and pepper.

Transfer potatoes and beans to a large bowl and toss with vinegar mixture.  Add parsley and mix to combine.

Source: Clean Eating Magazine, Jan/Feb 2012, page 80.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Oat Bran with Agave-Cinnamon Apples

Happy New Year! 

I've got to say, after living with this cold the past few days, I wasn't sad to see 2011 pass and take my cold away with it.  I had a nice, quiet New Year's Eve at a house-party with friends, and was very glad in the end that feeling sick hadn't kept me at home.  I am disappointed though to have missed my Resolution Run.  Oh well... maybe a goal for next December?

To start myself off on the right foot in this new year, I picked a clean, easy, one-person portioned meal.  It's a bit messy, but it's not anything too complicated for my still semi-foggy brain to handle.  It's got apples and cinnamon, so it's already won me over for a breakfast food, plus add in the peanut butter and I was sold!  It's a good-for-me breakfast that suits my ambition for the new year.

 Oat Bran with Agave-Cinnamon Apples
Makes: 1 serving

1/2 an apple, chopped small
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp dried cranberries
1/3 cup oat bran
1 cup water
1 Tbsp natural peanut butter

In a small pot on medium heat, add the chopped apples, cinnamon and agave. Cook until the apples are slightly soften and the agave has created a syrup, about 4 minutes.
Add 1 cup of water and the oat bran to the pot. Bring to a boil and stir every few seconds until the oat bran starts to thicken. Add the cranberries and cook for another minute. 

To serve top with peanut butter and a couple more cranberries. (Okay, so I cheated an used more than 1 Tbsp... I really like peanut butter!)

Source: Fallon's Cucina.