Good Morning, Fall! Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

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PumpkinSpicePancakesWell, it’s finally Fall and it actually feels like Fall here in Austin!  That NEVER happens – at least not until Decemberish.

In honor of this new Fall weather, we’re making Homemade Pumpkin Pancakes for brunch today!  The kids have been begging and (after making a big cup of coffee) I’m ready!!

What You’ll Need:

3/4 cup of flour

2 t. baking powder

4 t. sugar (this rounds out to 1 1/3 T, but using one measuring spoon makes easier cleaning!!)

/2 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. nutmeg

1/2 t. salt

2 eggs, beaten. (If you have little people that like to do this as much as mine, take a quick coffee break.)

1/2 c. milk

2 T. cooking oil

1/4 cup caramel macchiato or vanilla caramel liquid creamer (This is my secret ingredient…you’re welcome.)
** If you don’t drink coffee, don’t go out to buy this, just add 3/4 t. vanilla.  If you have it, it adds GREAT hints of caramelly goodness to the pancakes, though!

1/2 can (about 1 cup) pureed pumpkin

This Is How We Do It!!! (if you don’t get this reference and start singing in your head, PLEASE don’t tell me…then I will feel old…I’m not old enough to feel old.)

Mix dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl with a whisk to sift together.

Whisk eggs in smaller bowl, then add wet ingredients to the egg mixture.

Add pumpkin and wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

Fold together with a spatula until everything is mixed well.  **Don’t over mix – too much beating together will make your pancakes flatter. Did you know that? Bobby Flay taught me that!

Butter (or spray if you prefer) your griddle or nonstick pan. For my pancakes, I pour about 1/4 cup for each pancake.  Cook, serve, enjoy!

PumpkinPancake FinalI usually just serve them with syrup, but a fall-icious pecan or walnut topping would be divine!!

Have fun and Pumpkin Spice-it-up, this Fall!!

-T

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Pintastic! Rosemary Garlic Artisan Bread

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Rosemary Bread

WAY back when I first became addicted to Pinterest I pinned a recipe for Rosemary Olive Oil Bread from A Hint of Honey (LOVE her blog, btw).  Well, for over a year and a half, I have been saying “I really want to make that Rosemary Bread” but FINALLY I got around to it today!  Boy, have I been missing out!  This bread is not only DELICIOUS, but it makes your whole house smell AMAZING!!

I started with her original recipe, but I made a few changes of my own.

RmGABIngredients

First, instead of buying rosemary, I am very lucky to be able to harvest some from our neighbor.  So I sent the kids to do my dirty work – HOLLA!  They harvested about 8-9 six-inch sprigs which yielded more than enough for the recipe and some to sprinkle over the top.  I just cleaned them, took the leaves off and minced them up.  My hands smell sooooooo good!

Also, I used fresh garlic, about half a clove.  I minced it up also, and roasted it slightly in a pan with about 1/2 tblsp olive oil and a tsp of bacon grease.  Yes, bacon grease.  I know, I know, Holy Heart attack, but I SWEAR it will make all the difference to your cooking!  So, I browned the garlic a little, drained it and set it aside for later. It yielded about 2 tblsp – I REALLY love garlic!

When I mixed up the seasonings with the water, sugar, yeast concoction, I used the garlic along with a little dried oregano and basil as her recipe calls for (to replace the Italian seasoning).

Then, I put my little ball of love in a bowl, covered and let ‘er rise for about 45 minutes.

My little ball of joy before and after the initial rising.

My little ball of joy before and after the initial rising.

Instead of using the pizza stone, I chose to use my dutch oven.  Just ’cause.  I floured the bottom lightly, then followed her step to punch the dough down on a floured surface and form a ball again.  This ball went into the dutch oven and got covered for yet another nap.  Lazy dough! About this time, BamaBoy turned on the oven for me at 425 F.

All this rising gave me plenty of time to clean the kitchen.  I LOVE cooking when I also have time to clean as I go.  AND, I got to enjoy an afternoon cup of coffee.  Mmmmmm….  Nothing finer than getting to relax in a clean kitchen!!

Once it was done rising, I put it on the bottom rack (per instructions) and baked it for about 20 minutes with the dutch oven lid ON.  Then, I removed the lid and baked it for another 10-15 minutes.

Pre-egg Washing - Crusty goodness!

Pre-egg Washing – Crusty goodness!

About that time, JonahBear wanted to help since it smelled soooooo delish and he did the egg wash while I sprinkled more rosemary, oregano, basil and sea salt on the top.  We popped it back in for about 5 more minutes and TA-DAAAA!!!  She was done.  And she’s a beauty.  But she’s mine, so I’m biased. 😉

We let it cool in a kitchen towel wrap and finally got to cut ‘er open!  Yum!

SlicedBread

This being the first time I’ve made artisan bread, there are a few things I’d change:

1) Slightly more salt to the dough and the top.

2) I’d move the rack up one notch since the bottom got a little over-done.

3) More flour and egg-wash on the top at the end to get an even better crust on the top.

Overall, though, this was super-fun to make and pretty simple!  It takes being home all afternoon, but the kids and I got to play with Legos and hang out so it was totally worth it.  And my kitchen is CLEAN!!

We’re having ours with Spaghetti Pomodoro and Meatballs tonight.  What are you going to have with yours?!

Have a good weekend! – T

5 Day Juice Challenge: Part 2

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So this week is part 2 of my Total Reboot!

Last week, I completed the 5 Day Juice Challenge and I lost a total of 5 pounds!!  Woot! Woot!  This week is 5 Days of Salads, fruit and veggies + juice once a day!!
This is my life right now:

Photo from jointhereboot.com

So basically, here it is laid out.  Saturday was my last day of the first 5 days of juice.  Then, I took Sunday off to eat light and try to make sure I didn’t cut all foods out of my diet. (I’m trying to avoid the post-reboot body shock many people have experienced from lack of meat, eggs, and dairy for so long.) Anyway, I had 2 eggs and some black beans and was full until about 9pm Sunday night.  Safe to say my stomach’s shrunk I guess!!  Then that night, I had a turkey sandwich that kept me full until well into Monday.

Monday, it was back to the reboot.  I made a Green Carrot juice and took a small salad (about 1.5 cups of greens and shredded carrots) and about 1.5 tablespoons of viniagrette.  This was plenty for the day and I was even able to go to boot camp and felt good!  No light-headed feelings and no weakness at all! (Well, except that I was still sore from last Thursday’s first day back – Wowza!!)

Today, I took carrots, grapes and pears but no juice in an effort to drink more water.  Well, I ate the pears and about a carrot and a half during the day and drank a lot more water – Mission Accomplished!!  I didn’t eat my grapes though, Jonah took care of those after school! 🙂

Sunset Blend!!

Tomorrow, I’m taking a small salad again and probably a Sunset Blend Juice.  So far, I am still losing weight, but not as quickly this week, so far.  We’ll see as we go along and hopefully I’ll have good news to report at the end of this 5-day stint of just clean eating!!

Good luck out there!

5 Day Juice Challenge: Day 2

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So far, so good.  I actually am not hungry.  I do, however, really want to eat.  I find myself really wanting to eat a meal, but I just remind myself that I’m not really hungry and try to drink more water instead.

Last night, BamaBoy decided to make the kids bacon as part of their dinner.  Bacon, really…Confession: I gave in and had a few pieces.  Also, because I am hypoglycemic and was beginning to feel lethargic and off-kilter at the end of the day, I got worried and decided to eat a really tiny dinner of rice and black beans (about 3/4 cup).  I don’t really think it was necessary though and will try a salad or fruit next time.

Today though, was better!!  I tried 2 new recipes and they both turned out really yummy!!
The first was The Green Carrot from ZestyCook.com.  With spinach, cucumber, celery, carrots, and apple this is a nice, sweeter version of the typical green juice.  I ended up using extra spinach, carrots and the whole apple so it would make a little more.  Although I really like the Green Lemonade, this was a really nice alternative and I’ll make it again.

Look at all the green goodness!

The second juice for today was Strawberry Fields Forever from Fern’s Nutrition.  I bought strawberries the other day and searched “the Google” for “juice recipes with strawberries”.  This website came up and it sounded great and let me tell you, it is!!  This is a TASTY, sweet treat and I was actually disappointed when I was done!  Win!!  I will DEFINITELY be making this again!

Mmmmmm, fruity!!

After work, we had to run to the store and I was beginning to feel hungry so I grabbed a small Odwalla Superfoods juice to fill me up!  It did the trick and I wasn’t nearly as tempted by being in the grocery store!

For tomorrow, I going to back to the Green Lemonade and also trying another newbie, the Green Grape and Pear from Join the Reboot!  With green grapes, cucumber and pears, it’s sure to be  a favorite!! I changed it up a little, though because we didn’t have a lime and I didn’t want to use 2 cucumbers.  I used an extra pear instead and half a lemon to replace the lime.  Still light, delicious and fresh!

Light and green!!

Tomorrow will also be an interesting day because boot camp starts back up.  It will be Day 3 of the juice fast and my first intense workout in a while so it should shake things up quite a bit!  I plan to bring extra fruit just in case I am feeling bad and need to balance my sugars in the afternoon pre- or post-workout.

Overall, Day 2 DONE and still feeling good! HOLLA!
Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Zestyfoods.com, Fernsnutrition.com, jointhereboot.com or Odwalla.  I have never been compensated for their products or approached for advertising.  They do, however, have great support and recipes for juicing and if you are interested in juicing, you should definitely head on over to check them out!

5 Day Juice Challenge: Prep Day

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Recently, some very good friends of mine bought a juicer and decided to begin “juicing”.  She has since lost 30 pounds and looks AMAZING!  Well, I was sold!

Here’s a little background:

When I was 22 and 23, I could think about losing weight and kind of eat healthy, workout and lose weight like it was nothing.  After I had Jonah I was 24 and I lost 22 pounds in 2 months.  THEN, I had Lilly.  Just like that, those days were over pretty quick.

By the time Lilly was 1, I had gained about 15 pounds that had still not gone away.  I made a concerted effort to begin running, eating healthy, and going to boot camp at our school (SO lucky to have wonderful ladies to motivate me and make working out fun!)  Well, I initially lost 9 pounds over 10 months.  Then, I trained for a Half-Marathon and somehow managed to GAIN 6 pounds.  I went back to the doctor and changed birth control, thinking surely the hormones were an issue.  Nothing.  Actually less than nothing, I gained another 4 pounds.

My motivation this summer was zip.  Every time I tried to get back into working out I had just sort of lost the want.  In the first year and a half, I loved working out!  I felt great and I kept telling myself it would start to make a difference soon.  But the longer it didn’t make a difference, I lost the want, the drive, the fun.  So here we are and boot camp starts up again on Thursday.

In an effort to really make the most of this new school year and my new year of boot camp, I decided that the juicer might not be a bad idea.  I did some research, talked to my friend a LOT and decided that a Reboot might be exactly what I need.  So, tomorrow I start a 5-day juice fast.  5 days of fruit and vegetable juicing.

My current plan is to do a 5-day fast, 5-days clean, healthy eating, and another 5-day fast.  Past that, no set plan.  I know I can commit to 5 days at a time, so that’s where I’m starting.  No ridiculous promises, no crazy 30-day fast, just 5 days at a time to try to get myself back on track.  So, starting today, I’m going to document my journey.  Because maybe if I share it, maybe if I just say this sucks and I’m ready to not feel this way, MAYBE I’ll stick to it.  Maybe it won’t feel so hard.

Enter the WaringPRO Juice Extractor!  My  new toy!

I am in no way affiliated with the Waring Pro company, but so far I am loving my juicer. I wish I had a whole counter of them, but alas, the Waring Pro company has not yet felt inclined to make that happen.

Today, I prepped my juices for tomorrow.  I got the recipes from jointhereboot.com, a website and blog dedicated to teaching others about juicing, rebooting your body and the benefits of juicing. First, I cut up and sorted all the veggies needed for my two juices – the Sunset Blend and Green Lemonade.

Green Lemonade on the left, Sunset Blend on the right

Just as I got these done, though, BamaBoy decided he wanted to make homemade orange juice, so we did that first.

3 1/2 large naval oranges ready to go in.

The finished product – just oranges!!

On to the Sunset Blend Juice.  It’s not my recipe, so I won’t put it on here, but I can tell you it contains sweet potato, carrots, beets with greens, apples, red bell pepper, and orange. I used less beet than the recipe called for because I am not sure how much I like beets.  I was AMAZED at the color of this juice!  I get why it’s called Sunset now, it is a crazy shade of bright orange!!  Awesome!

Look at that!

I put it into my first bottle for tomorrow and had enough left over for a glass for the morning, less work for me!

Now on to the Green Lemonade.  This is pretty much the same as most of the Green Juice recipes you’ll find out there, but it has lemon.  So it has kale, spinach, apples, celery, cucumber and lemon.

What a healthy shade of green!! Woo Hoo!

Mean Green Juice – bottled and ready to cleanse!

Here goes nothing folks!!  5-days of juice.  Wish me luck guys, I’m going to need it!  This week juice, next week back to Paleo!

Comfort Food – My First (EVER) Beef Stew

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Here goes nothing ladies and gents, I’m attempting Beef Stew! We had 2 large rib-eye steaks that needed to be used so BamaBoy suggested I try my hand at a stew. After some searching, I felt like I could begin with some (slight) confidence. The only downside, so far is that this recipe is not Gluten-free or entirely paleo, but if you’re willing to fudge a teeny-bit, you’ll still be happy.

What you’ll need:

2 large rib-eye steaks (Mine weighed a total of 1.8 pounds) – You could also use chuck-eye steaks for a little more tenderness.

2 tblsp bacon grease (If you don’t already have some on hand, it’s a GREAT excuse to cook some bacon!)

coarse ground garlic salt
coarse (or fresh) ground black pepper

1 medium yellow onion, diced to about 1 1/2 cups

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 1/2 cups beef stock

16 oz beer (or a beer and a half if you don’t buy the 16 “ouncers”)

1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

2 cups baby carrots

approx. 3 1/2 cups quartered red new potatoes

Let’s begin:

1. I heated 1 tblsp stored bacon grease to our large pot, grabbed a steak and seasoned one side with coarse garlic salt and coarse ground pepper.

2. Sear the first steak on each side until it has a nice brown crust. When it looks “beautiful” and you tear a little, you’re done. Let the steak “rest” on a cutting board until they’re both ready.

You are so beautiful!

3. Add another tblsp bacon grease and season and sear the other steak.

4. Once both steaks are seared and “rested”, cube them into approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes. Throw them back into the pot with the seasoning and bacon grease.

Sear again to get all sides browned a bit.

5. Reduce heat to about Medium-Low and sear a little more, making sure to hit the newly-cut edges.
Next, I know this seems like it’s more complicated than it should be. It probably is, but you need to cook down the onions and garlic. Take the beef out and place off to the side.

6. Turn the heat back up to medium, dice the onion and garlic and toss them into the “pot’o’seasonings” to cook down.
By now, your kitchen smells heavenly. And that extra beer in your hand tastes even better wrapped in bacon/meat/onion/garlic smell, doesn’t it. Don’t worry, I bought extras too. 😉

7. Now that the onions are garlic are cooking down, it’s time to add the beef stock and beer. Add slowly and stir as you go.

The National Beer of Texas!

8. Now, pour the meat back into the pot. Add the worcestershire as well as about half a tablespoon each of salt, pepper, and sugar.

Add the meat back to the pot and simmer.

9. Cover and simmer on medium-low for about 2 hours. Take this time to clean the kitchen so you’re family thinks you’re AMAZING for keeping the kitchen so clean while you cook! You’re welcome. 😉

10. After 2 hours, add the carrots and potatoes and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes to 1 hour.

NOTE: When the sauce is thick and everything is tender, you’re done.  You can turn it down to low to prolong cooking time if you need to.  If the sauce gets too thin, add a LITTLE flour, bring it back up to a boil and then let it simmer again.

Serve and enjoy.  Luckily, this turned out to be quite a hit.  The only thing I might do next time is add a little more onion and maybe cut them into bigger chunks to get more of the taste in the finished product.  Overall, I’m going to call it a SUCCESS!!  Try it out and let me know what you think!

Time to eat! YUM!

-Lindsey

Simple Eats: Fantastic Taco Soup in a Hurry!

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It’s healthy, quick and delicious!

BamaBoy does most of the cooking.  I know, I am one lucky gal!  He’s a really good cook, too!  Unfortunately, he was stuck at home sick the other day so he decided to make soup.  Taco Soup!  Not really what I had in mind for a sick guy, but to each his own I guess.  Well, get ready, but this was one heck of a meal and it takes about 30 to 45 minutes total – even less if you prep ahead of time!!  The kids liked it, too, which is a HUGE stamp of approval!  Let’s DO THIS!!

What you’ll need:

1 and 1/4 lb. lean ground beef

2  16 oz. cans pinto beans

40 oz. chicken broth

1  15 oz. can black beans

1  15 oz. can diced tomatoes

1  11 oz. shoepeg corn (If you’ve never heard of this, have no fear. I thought he was totally FULL of it, but it actually exists and I did find it at the grocery store!)

1  10 oz. Rotel or diced tomatoes and green chilies

1 pouch taco seasoning

Blue (or otherwise) corn tortilla chips

shredded cheese (I like the “Mexican blend”)

**A note about the canned beans – I generally am not a huge fan of  all the “syrup-y” stuff in canned beans, but you will be draining and rinsing it all, so it won’t matter and it will save you LOTS of time.)

Prep Work:

In a skillet, brown the ground beef, drain and set aside.

BamaBoy shows his hand modeling skills!

Drain the pinto and black beans as well as the shoepeg corn into a colander.  Rinse and drain until the water runs pretty clear.  BamaBoy likes to mix them up and call it the Bean and Corn Medley…..

The Bean and Corn Medley

Cooking:

In a 5-quart Dutch Oven, pour the chicken broth, diced tomatoes and Rotel (without draining the tomato cans) and turn onto Medium heat .

Add the Bean and Corn Medley 🙂 and the ground beef.  Stir well.

Then, add the taco seasoning and bring to a boil.

Almost there!!

Reduce heat to a simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly.

To serve:

Pour into a soup bowl, line the edge with tortilla chips and top with the shredded cheese.  Let the cheese melt and it’s ready!  EASY!

Mmmmmm….cheesy!

This recipe was SO easy and so good!!  It was a lot lighter than I thought a taco soup would be and I bought the reduced sodium or “no salt added” versions of most of the canned goods so it was pretty healthy too!!  BONUS!  We refrigerated it over night and I think it might have been even better the next day!  We will DEFINITELY be making this for lunches this year!  Enjoy!