Saturday, November 26, 2016

Recipe: Baba Ganoush

Several months ago we ate dinner at a great Mediterranean restaurant and tried their Baba Ganoush as an appetizer. I was hooked after the first bite. I really like Hummus, but this stole the show and I knew I needed to find a recipe and make it at home (whatever did we do before the internet..lol). The recipe is easy with very few ingredients needed. If  you don't have tahini and you don't want to spend the money at the store (it can be a little spendy), you can make your own. I chose to do this because a large jar was $10 at the store and I only needed a few Tablespoons and wasn't sure how soon I'd use it again. Plus I had the ingredients to make it homemade. 

I absolutely love being able to make copycat recipes for two reasons, #1 being that I can make them with better ingredients and know exactly what I'm putting in them and #2 I can enjoy them at a fraction of the cost, in the comfort of my own home. One of our other favorites is Buffalo Wild Wings wings sauces. YUM. 

But this is about eggplant, and flat bread, and all kinds of yummy goodness.
Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant
1 large clove garlic, finely minced or grated
1 lemon, juiced
2 Tbs. tahini (see this link to make your own, I didn't make the full recipe)
Olive Oil for roasting
Sea salt to taste
Optional: Fresh cilantro, parsley or basil

Instructions:

1. Preheat your oven to medium broil if you have it, if not, then high. 

2. Slice eggplant about 1/4 inch thick and place in a colander, sprinkling with sea salt and letting sit of 10 minutes to draw out extra moisture. Rinse and pat dry with a paper towel.

3. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Broil for about 5-10 minutes, turning a few times until eggplant is soft and and lightly browned. 

4. Remove from pan and stack on a large piece of foil. Wrapping up to seal in moisture for about 5 minutes.

5. Peel away as much skin as you can and place eggplant in food processor.

6. Add lemon juice, tahini, garlic and sea salt. Process until creamy. Add herbs towards the end and process just to incorporate. Season further according to your tastes. 

We served this with flat bread and it was a huge hit. 



With Joy Unquenchable,

Monday, November 21, 2016

SRC Reveal: Gluten Free Donuts




I have loved being  a part of the Secret Recipe Club. I've been a part of this club since 2011. My first recipe was an asparagus quiche. It was so good, I've made it several times since. That's one thing I've loved about the blogs I've been a part of...I make some of the recipes over and over again. Sadly, the group is coming to an end. It was just time, as sometimes that happens and you always want to end on a high note. It's been a fun run. Sometimes I chose recipes that were familiar and easy, and sometimes I tried to challenge myself, like when I made macarons. I was just going through some of the recipes and oh boy, I'm getting an itch to make some of them again, like the Rustic Tomato Tart and Garlicky Grilled BLT.

This month I was assigned to The Heritage Cook. Jane has been a great asset to the Secret Recipe Club, and I'm honored to be cooking with her blog this month. She's a cookbook author, recipe developer, food and travel writer (that sounds fun). Check out her About Me page

I loved that she had such a large variety of dishes to choose from and a lot of Gluten Free ones. While we are not GF, I do try and make some recipes that are so I have an arsenal for when others come over or just to give us a break from wheat products.

I chose to make her Gluten Free Donuts because who doesn't love donuts, and being gluten free I wanted to give a couple to my daughter who mostly tries to avoid gluten, AND I always like options and newer, healthier ways of making things. I didn't have a donut pan, but borrowed one from a friend. I now need to go buy a donut pan. I also had to cut the recipe in half because I didn't have as much GF flour mix as I thought. I made a GF mix from my America's Test Kitchen Cookbook "How can it be Gluten Free". I love this mix. It doesn't have xanthum gum, and the recipe said to add 1/4 tsp. if your mix doesn't have it. I knew I had some but the little bag I thought was it didn't have anything to confirm it so I crossed my fingers and hoped it was...then added 1/8 tsp. since I halved the recipe and again, hoped it worked. My donut pan was also full size and not mini so I only got 6 full size donuts, but really that was all we needed. 

They turned out really good. They weren't as puffed up as I would have liked and I'm not sure if I needed to add more of something or just fill the pans a bit more. The flavor was great. The longer they sit, the drier they are so they'd probably be great with coffee, or maybe slightly warmed in the microwave. I ate a part of each kind within an hour of them coming out of the oven and they were perfect. My favorite was the cinnamon sugar. Next time I'll try a chocolate glaze as well and a powdered sugar, oh, and a maple glaze would be good too.
On to the recipe. It's lengthy so bear with me, but these are totally worth making! Oh, and I just found her recipe for a chocolate version...oh my, oh my..might need to make both next time. Also, go to her blog to read her tips and tricks. They were helpful.
Ingredients:

Donuts

1/2 c. milk
2 Tbs. butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 c. gluten free flour blend (or you could use all purpose flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 Tbs. water
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 to 2 Tbs. vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract

White Chocolate Glaze

2 Tbs. White Chocolate Chips
1 Tbs. vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 Tbs. milk as needed
1 to 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:

1/2 c. sugar
1 to 2 tsp. ground cinnamon to taste
melted butter for dipping

Instructions:

Donuts:

1. Preheat oven to 325. Spray donut pan lightly with cooking spray. Place a wire cooling rack over a piece of parchment paper, silpat, or waxed paper.

2. In a small bowl stir together the milk and melted butter. Reheat as needed to keep the butter melted. (I combined these two at the last minute, I think you could warm the milk up slightly to help).

3. In a large bowl combine the flour baking powder, salt and xanthum gum if needed. Whisk to combine well.

4. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the eggs, water, sugar and vanilla until thick and creamy. Add the dry ingredients and the milk/butter mixture to the egg mixture. Beat until smooth.

5. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium tip, or fill a plastic bag with mixture and cut one corner off. Pipe into prepared pans, filling 2/3 of the way full. Bake for about 9 to 11 minutes or until puffed, the tops spring back when lightly touched and they are beginning to lightly brown.

6. Let them cool slightly and then remove carefully from pan onto a wire rack for cooling. Cool competely before glazing. Repeat with remaining batter. 

White Chocolate Glaze:

1. In a microwave safe bowl (or on stovetop), place the white chocolate chips, vanilla and milk. Heat in 10-15 second bursts until chocolate is mostly melted, stirring between each heating. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth and mostly melted. Whisk the powdered sugar into the melted chocolate until fully incorporated. Whisk in as much additional milk as needed to thin the glaze enough to make a good dipping consistency. I wanted mine thicker.

2. When donuts are cool enough, dip tops in glaze, allowing excess to drip off and then place on cooling rack that has been placed over parchment. If you want to add sprinkles, do this now before glaze sets up, either dipping donut in sprinkles or drizzling over top. I used shaved chocolate.

Cinnamon Sugar

1. In a bowl combine sugar and cinnamon. Melt some butter in a saucepan and then place in a bowl.

2. Dip both sides of donuts briefly in butter and then toss in cinnamon sugar. Return to rack to dry.






With Joy Unquenchable,

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup:


 I love Thanksgiving dinner. The turkey, the stuffing, the gravy! I could eat my mother in laws gravy with a spoon...oh wait, I do! I also love leftovers, for about 1, maybe 2 days, then I'm over it. I can't eat another plate of turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy. I want something more, something different. This soup is just the thing to use up leftovers without feeling like you're eating leftovers AGAIN!

I originally posted it in 2008 after I had found it on an Eating Well website. It is similar to the Broccoli and wild rice soup I make, but much lighter. So let's get on with it.


Ingredients:

1 tbs. Olive oil
2 c. mushrooms
1 c. sliced carrots
3/4 c. sliced celery
1/4 c. chopped shallots or onion
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 c. chicken broth
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 c. quick cooking or instant wild rice 
3 c. shredded or chopped cooked turkey
1/2 c. sour cream
2 Tbs. fresh parsley

Instructions:

1. In a large soup pan heat olive oil. Add mushrooms, carrots, celery and shallots (or onion), cooking until softened. Add flour, salt and pepper, stirring for about 2 minutes.

2. Add broth and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add rice and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until rice is tender about 5-7 minutes. Stir in turkey, sour cream, and parsley. Cook until heated through.

NOTES: I didn't use quick cooking rice. I bought regular wild rice, cooked it separately and then added it to the soup when it was done. I also added a little bit of cheese. Season more to your personal taste. I like a lot of flavor so I tend to play with the seasonings.


With Joy Unquenchable,



Friday, November 4, 2016

Attitude of Thankfulness



It's a new month and at the risk of sounding cliche, it is the month that we typically focus more on being more thankful, or at least being more aware of being thankful. While I think it's good to have specific, focused times to express thankfulness or some other feeling or emotion, I want to be in a habit of ALWAYS having an attitude and mindset of thankfulness, no matter what month it is, or what the circumstances are that surround me. As I sat at my desk yesterday looking at our credit card bill and making sure I had the moo-lah to cover the charges (we don't believe in charging if we can't pay it when the bill comes). I usually remember to have it by the time the bill comes, but sometimes I forget...oops, and then for a moment I panic, but it always works out. So as I sat there, I realized how much I have to be thankful for. Even in the midst of making sure money was there to cover charges, even in the midst of life not quite going like we always plan. There is so much to be thankful for. And now this morning as I sit at my desk looking out the window at blue sky with puffs of white clouds, I'm thankful that I can see and take in the beauty around me, that I have a roof over my head and hot (now cooled) coffee in my mug. 

I look at Facebook posts each day and some bring me great joy, and some great sadness as I observe the lenses that many people look through. One summer I bought a pair of sunglasses. Mind you, I do not spend much on glasses because I will inevitably lose them or break them. I just do. I won't spend more than $20 and more than likely will only spend $10. I mean, I do want them to work. So, I bought these cute sunglasses. I put them on when I went outside and after awhile commented "oh wow! The sky is so amazing!" I took them off for a minute and said "oh, I guess it was just the sunglasses". The sky was pretty, sure, but the sunglasses made it look even more pretty and dramatic. I immediately put them back on because I liked how things looked through those lenses.
That's the way it is with life. I'm not talking living in denial of reality, but I am saying that the lenses which we look through will paint our picture of what we see and how we see things. I can look at the same picture or the same circumstance as you, but see something totally different. The same with life. Sadly some people only see through lenses of bitterness, anger, hurt, negativity, entitlement, and the like. I see this daily in people I encounter, through the news and social media and I get it. Sometimes life is not fun, we can't seem to catch a break, we've been deeply wounded, abandoned, we don't know who or what to believe, you name it. BUT I also believe that in the midst of everything that happens in our lives, we can cultivate a spirit of thankfulness and gratitude and that will change how we approach life. 

My challenge for myself is to remember each day to express gratitude and thankfulness. I've not been through the experiences of some and my experiences maybe haven't been as traumatic as others, but I have my own experiences and circumstances that could have left me bitter, angry, etc. But choosing to have a mindset that says those won't define me, those won't change who I am makes a huge difference. When we dwell on the negative in an unhealthy way, we are never free to move past those things. It certainly takes being intentional because it's so tempting to post things on social media, whether subtly or blatantly and we often feel justified. I decided it's just not worth it. 

What about you? Do you find yourself complaining, unsatisfied, bitter, angry? Have you lost your sense of Thankfulness and gratitude? Start today, even if all you can muster is "I'm thankful just to be alive".  

With Joy Unquenchable,



Monday, October 31, 2016

Living Intentionally: Books, links, and other stuff

We're winding down our 31 Day Write Series. I thought today I'd share some of my favorite books, favorite links, and maybe a few other things that I resource regularly to  be intentional with my Body, Soul and Spirit. I love seeing what other people read and recommend.  I have a HUGE wishlist on Amazon. Hopefully this gets posted tonight, the 30th..haha. Ya, that didn't happen. It's now the 31st and the last day of this challenge. I haven't been very consistent because of life happening. Here's a link to some other books I recommended in another post. 



Books: Amazon is a great resource. Check out your local used bookstores as well, or Goodwill. 


Body
Medical Medium (I haven't read this but sounds good)
Eat This and Live
Food Rules
Books by Don Colbert

Soul
The fringe hours
Love the Home You Have
Improvised
The Cozy Life
Grace for the Contemplative Parent


Spirit
God Believes in you
The Mirror Bible
Relaxing with God
This Son of Mine
Waking Up


Facebook Pages: Pay attention to what others share. Find pages that are positive, encouraging and see to "fit" with what you want in life.

Body
Danette May
Pop Sugar Fitness
Just Eat Real Food


Soul: 
Power of Positivity
David Wolfe 
Becoming Minimalist

Spirit
The Mirror Translation (Francois Du Toit)
Danny Silk: Loving on Purpose 
Center for Action and Meditation
Steve McVey 
Rob Bell

Websites: Many of these I follow their FB pages as well, but I like their websites too. 

Body
The Hearty Soul
Dr. Mercola 
Mind Body Green
Back On Pointe (great workouts)

Soul
Brene Brown 
Ordinary Epiphanies (she is a blogger in this challenge and I loved her writing)
Pen and Hive (another blogger in this series)
Finding Joy

Spirit
John Pavlovitz
Loving on Purpose 
Brene Brown 


Well, I hope you enjoyed this series. It was fun, it was challenging, I learned a lot. This series challenged me to get back on track with being intentional for myself, and my family.  Who knows what the next adventure will be, but I hope you'll join me. I know there'll always be recipes, I love to cook. Hopefully some crafts, inspiration and life stories in between. 

I read this quote last night and loved it. It was on the Natural News FB page and it's so true. Not just for our bodies, but our soul and spirit as well!





With Joy Unquenchable,


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