Sunday, March 25, 2012

honey peanut butter cups

My life these days revolves around my kids meals and the potty.  I am either in the kitchen preparing meals which is typically peanut butter toast for breakfast and a tortilla with peanut butter and honey for lunch.  My kids love peanut butter.  They are my kids after all.  If I am not in the kitchen then I am in the bathroom with my daughter who is potty training.  Don't worry I am a seriously committed hand washer.  After a successful potty trip a prompt request for chocolate follows.  She loves a tiny piece of milk chocolate.  It just made sense to me to combine the kitchen peanut butter and honey with the bathroom chocolate.  When I presented them each with a honey peanut butter cup for dessert I became a super mom.  The husband was also super happy.  He was so happy that I had to hide 12 of them in the freezer.  I had plans for those remaining 12.  Stay tuned.

honey peanut butter cups
adapted: everyday with rachel ray

12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey

Fill a mini muffin tin with 24 wrappers. 

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Reserve the pot of hot water to keep the chocolate liquid, as necessary.

Place about 1 teaspoons of the melted chocolate in a baking cup, swirling to coat about halfway up the side of the cup. Repeat with the remaining cups. Refrigerate until set.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the peanut butter and honey. Transfer the mixture to a resealable plastic bag and snip off one corner.

Fill the chocolate cups about three-quarters full with the peanut butter mixture, smoothing the surface. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Top each peanut butter cup with melted chocolate to enclose, smoothing the surface. Refrigerate until hardened.

Monday, March 12, 2012

breakfast quinoa with a caramelized banana and carrot topping

It is Secret Recipe Club time again.  I have been in a health funk lately.  When I was assigned the blog get healthy with Heather it was the perfect kick I needed to get my mind reset on the concept that health is a lifestyle.  I am fairly committed to a healthy lifestyle but, it is always inspiring for me to read exercise tips and recipes from another health conscience individual.  Heather's blog is filled with recipes, fitness and pregnancy information.  Reading her blog made me feel as if I met my perfect breakfast companion.  I think Heather enjoys oatmeal as much as I do.  We both have oatmeal recipes that include ingredients such as carrots, zucchini, bananas, eggs and chia seeds.  I eat overnight oats almost every morning.  I never get sick of oatmeal.  Breakfast quinoa has been on my radar for awhile but, I never wanted to make it because that would mean no morning oatmeal.  Heather's recipe gave me the perfect opportunity to put the oats on the back burner and give quinoa in the morning a try.  One word ... bananas!  I loved  it.  I have had it both hot and cold. I have had it several days in a row. The slight crunch is a nice change from the soft oats.  It is so easy to prep and it is packed with protein.  Take Heather's advice and start your morning off with this nutritious and delicious bowl of quinoa with endless possibilities of variations.  My favorite bowl was topped with caramelized bananas, carrots and walnuts.  Just bananas!

breakfast quinoa with caramelized bananas and carrots
source: get healthy with Heather


1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds.
1 tablespoon of butter
1 banana, sliced
1 carrot, julienned
1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon agave
1 teaspoon cinnamon

The night before bring the quinoa, water and cinnamon stick to a boil in a small pot on the stove top.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.  Remove the cinnamon stick.

Separate into 4 bowl, cool to room temperature, cover and place in the fridge for the night.

Remove a bowl from the refrigerator and add a 1/2 cup if almond milk and 1/2 a tablespoon of chia seeds per bowl.  Give a good stir and let for 5-10 minutes. 

While quinoa is sitting. Warm up a small skillet over medium heat.  Melt butter.  Toss the banana, carrot, walnuts with agave and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Add the mixture to the skillet with the melted butter.  Allow the mixture to caramelize by cooking for approximately 5 minutes stirring frequently. 

Warm bowl of quinoa in the microwave for 60-90 seconds.

Top with a quarter of the caramelized topping. 

*The quinoa is also great served cold with fresh berries.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

slow cooker easy pesto meatballs

Something strange happened tonight.  The family sat down at the dinner table together and we all ate the same meal.  This was a dream come true moment for me.  There were no substitutes, no modifications, and no deconstructed versions. Best of all no gripes, complaints or food struggles.  Meatballs are a new food for my kids.  Meatballs in my mind are a gateway food.  Once we tackle meatballs the door to meatloaf and hamburgers open up.  We need to continue to love the meatball.  These meatballs are super simple and even though pesto is in the name of the recipe the pesto flavor is very mild.  The pesto adds nice flavor and a softness to the texture of the meatball.  The first night we had the meatballs over pasta and the second night we made meatball slides.  A simple healthy meal made in the slow cooker that the whole family will eat is a definite repeater.

slow cooker easy pesto meatballs
source: slow cooker revolution

1 pound ground turkey
2/3 cup plain bread crumbs
2/3 cup fresh pesto
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 egg yolk
2 (24oz) tomato sauce (Bertolli tomato and basil)
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper

Mix turkey through egg yolk in a large bowl using your hands.  Using a cookie scoop pinch off and roll mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls.  Microwave meatballs on a large plate for 5 minutes until firm and fat is rendered.

Add tomato sauce and water into slow cooker and mix.  Drain the rendered fat and nestle the meatballs into the sauce in the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Monday, March 5, 2012

chocolate chip coffee muffins

Am I the only person that goes to bed thinking about coffee?  I absolutely love my morning cup of coffee.  I know I like the caffeine but, I think I just love the morning ritual.  Enjoying my steaming cup of coffee on the couch in the morning waiting for my sleepy eyed kids to roll out of their rooms.  A snuggle with their warm little bodies and a glimpse of their crazy bedhead gets my morning started.  After the kids wiggle free from my arms they always exclaim "mommy's coffee is yucky!"  I totally disagree with this statement.  I remember thinking coffee was gross until my freshman year of college when a heavy of the chocolate light on coffee mocha started to appeal to me.  Up until then I never had coffee but, I loved coffee ice cream.  With this nugget of information I decided to make these chocolate chip coffee muffins.  Making bigger batches of food these days are helping out tremendously as the kids schedules begin to fill up.  Both kids loved these moist muffins.  The coffee flavor is present but, not over powering.  will be making these again because there is nothing wrong with a cup of coffee and a chocolate chip coffee muffin.

chocolate chip coffee muffins
source: cooking light

2/3 cup whole milk
5 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons instant decaf coffee granules
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine first 5 ingredients.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist.

Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups lined with wrappers. Bake at 400° for 18 minutes or until done. Remove muffins from pan immediately; place on a wire rack.
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