For the Foodie

Crispy Kale Chips

I love kale!

I love it in salads, steamed, especially in smoothies and most recently, during my low-carb/Keto diet, I have become fond of it as the perfect substitute for chips or popcorn, or any other salty or savory snack.

I snacked on a handful of these rather than popcorn during our Harry Potter marathon this weekend and imagined how good they would taste as “croutons” on a salad or alongside and sandwich even (lettuce wrap in my case).

I used an entire full 1 lb bag of organic kale, which produced roughly 8 servings of this salty, low carb (6 net carbs per serving) treat. If you are on a low carb or keto diet, not only does the carb count benefit you, but so does that salt for your electrolytes. Plus, sometimes I just want that crunchy snack and other than Wisps, you won’t find much of that on the low carb diet. Win, win and win!

So on we go with the recipe! Please note, this will make your kitchen odorous. I honestly did not mind the smell but my husband was NOT impressed!

Also, one addition I would add to this recipe (but did not this time around) would be shredded or grated parmesan, I can imagine that gives an even more savory taste! I would suggest grated over shredded and I would add it in during the oil process, I will note it below to be clear.

What you will need:

  • 1 lb bag of organic kale
  • 4 tablespoons of organic unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • Himalayan pink salt (roughly 1 tsp)
  • Black ground pepper (roughly 1 tsp)
  • Garlic powder (roughly 1 tsp)

What you will need to do:

Set the oven to 350 F and grease the baking tray. As I refuse to use cooking sprays (did you know they can get rust off your bike chain or bugs off your windshield? Many contain additives and GMOs – yuck!) I made sure to smear a bit of coconut oil across the pan.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Be sure the kale is washed and dried. I am able to get my kale pre-shredded, but if you do not you will need to remove the center rib and stems from each leaf and discard. Cut or tear them into bite-size pieces. These will significantly shrink during the baking process so you can make them a little larger.

Place the kale into a large bowl (with the 1 lb bag, I had to do this in a couple of batches) and drizzle the melted oil over it and then massage or toss the kale around to get evenly covered. Now is when I would add in the grated parmesan next time as well. You can go ahead and toss all of the seasonings on now as well or do as I did below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Once coated, lay the kale out onto the baking tray in a single layer and top with pepper, salt and garlic powder.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bake the kale until crisp and the edges are slightly browned, roughly 12-15 minutes. Toss into a large bag or bowl and enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

For the Foodie

Sweet Treat Flag

Fourth of July is fast approaching and I am sure, as I do, you have plenty of parties to attend. I really wish that this year we were back in the hills of Tennessee, like we were last year. There is truly nothing better than celebrating the holiday in Gatlinburg, TN. What a fantastic time we had!

Since we had all the kiddos in the cabin, I came up with the perfect (and easy) dessert treat to make with them all one of our evenings. It turned out adorable, and the kids had such a fun time making this. It will surely be a beautiful and patriotic addition to any of your family gatherings!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ingredients you will need:

  • Large puffy marshmallows (roughly 30)
  • Toothpicks (or tiny fingers will do)
  • Red & Blue sugar sprinkles (white too if you want to be perfect)
  • scissors (or a knife)
  • butter or Crisco
  • Baking dish (9×13 or 7×11 will do)
  • Hershey Bars (chocolate chips could be substituted)
  • Graham Crackers

Here is what you’ll do:

First you will want to grease the baking dish with butter or Crisco and set the oven at 450 degrees F.

Then I poured the sugar crystals into separate bowls, set out a bowl of water as well and cut all of the big marshmallows into halves.

While I completed those tasks I let the kids break up the Hershey bars and lay them down to complete the first layer of our delicious dish.

I then let the kids each take turns getting their marshmallow halves dumped into water and then into the sugar colors we needed for our second layer. Little fingers or toothpicks can be used for that step.

Let these dry on wax paper before placing them onto the chocolate bars, should be about 20 minutes. Once dry, you will place these, cut side down, onto the chocolate bar layer, making sure to get your flag in the right order. The kids had lots of fun making a pattern with these!

Top off the dish with the extra sugar crystals on any lacking areas and place the dish into the oven to bake for 7 to 9 minutes, just until the tops of the marshmallows start to brown. We let the kiddos eat the leftover crystalized marshmallows while they waited!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Take out and let cool a little. Serve with graham crackers or pretzels and enjoy this sweet and salty treat! The sugar sprinkles form a perfect crystallized topping to the dip so you get the most divine combination of chocolate, cream marshmallow and sweet crunch. Best served warm and with a glass of milk!

Your kids will feel extra special being able to create this masterpiece on their own too!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Need another great (but healthier) treat for Memorial Day or 4th of July parties? Check out this patriotic fruit “cake”. Yum!

For the Foodie

Redneck Turtle Burger

Blast from the Past post:

With my father-in-law’s birthday coming up this Monday the 16th, I figured what more perfect time than now to share what I had made him a couple years back. We still talk and laugh about this Turtle Burger today.

Now this will be so far from the healthy recipe posts that I will typically post here, but it was definitely fun to make and fun for my father-in-law to eat!

My father-in-law could be the Ohioan Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty…and his 3 sons, including my hubby, could easily be Willie, Jase and Jep (except one of them is much more like Si than one of Phil’s boys)!

When my hubby realized that we were going to be vacationing at my in-law’s during my father-in-law’s birthday we decided to do something fun for him. While my father-in-law and hubby took our son fishing for the first time that day, my mother-in-law and I prepared a birthday dinner and dessert, using all his favorite foods!

I decided since he’s such a hunting fan, and a major meat lover (and not a fan of bread at all), we should make him what we call a “Redneck Turtle Burger”. We used a pound of ground beef, 3 hot dogs and a bunch of bacon.

First we took two of the hot dogs and made the necessary cuts and slices to create a toe-like impression on each “foot” of the turtle and cut them in half.

Then we took the third hot dot and cut the “tail” into the typical pointy tail of a turtle.

We formed the full pound of beef into a patty around the head and tail hot dog and then stuck the half cut hot dog “feet” into four holes we made with our finger.

Lastly, we cross-weaved thick sliced bacon all around the “turtle” to make a shell. Piece of advice, maybe don’t use thick cut bacon because it is a lot harder to cook through this way. We actually ended up having to take the bacon off and cook separately. But if you use a thin sliced bacon, you should be fine.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

He was surprised when he saw what it dinner was!!

We grilled it up and he enjoyed it, without a bun, especially since he doesn’t like much bread! Plus it was far too big to attempt to put on a bun! We served it up with my homemade pasta salad, some baked beans and my mother-in-law’s amazing peanut butter pie to top things off! Redneck style! Happy Birthday Dad!

For the Foodie

Simple KETO Jambalaya

Low carb or KETO foods are all the rage right now. I have several friends that have been doing this KETO lifestyle and have had such significant results in weight loss and energy boosts. I find this diet to be easy because you can still have some savory, delicious foods without breaking the bank in regards to carbohydrates. To learn what KETO is visit this awesome blog post here. (This blog also has many other awesome posts with information about health and beauty – take a look around while you are there!)

I have the yummiest form of a simple KETO jambalaya for you! It is lacking in the rice and beans because those are too high on the carb count. But you can add some peppers to it if you’d like for an additional mere 4 net carbs per pepper. And you can add chicken as well (0 carbs) if you need some extra protein for the day. But to keep the calories low and the protein count lower for KETO, I just stuck with two meats – sausage and shrimp.

In place of the rice and beans I went with radishes. I chose these because they are one of the lower carb vegetables and when cooked just right, can have the same type of starchy consistency of rice and beans. Radishes are also a great option in place of potatoes as well! They can be cooked several different ways, baked, sautéed, roasted, mashed…you name it. Click here for an awesome loaded radish recipe!

First I took two bunches of radishes, cleaned them up and quartered them. Toss them in a pot of water, lightly salted, and boil for 7-10 minutes.

My favorite type of sausage to use for jambalaya is Kielbasa sausage. Slice it up into whatever size you please but I tend to think that 1/4 inch is good enough and cooks through the best.

While the radishes are boiling go ahead and put some olive oil in the skillet and begin to cook the sausage.

I used some basic seasonings, you can choose whatever you’d like. But below is what I chose to use throughout this recipe. An additional seasoning you could use would be fresh garlic or garlic powder, but I felt this ended up very flavorful and would not change a thing in the future.

Season the cooking kielbasa.

In the meantime I prepared my shrimp. I de-veined, detailed and rinsed them off well.

Go ahead and drain the radishes once they have boiled for about 7 minutes. Be sure to get as much water off of these as possible before adding into the hot oil.

Once the kielbasa is about halfway done, add in the shrimp. Shrimp doesn’t take nearly as long to cook as the sausage. Isn’t this starting to look delicious! Feel free to add in some more season if you feel necessary.

The radishes can be added in for the last 7-10 minutes to cook all together. I find it easiest to put them right into the middle (hottest spot) of the pan. To cook them up more quickly for a few minutes and then stir them in with the rest.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Once the 7-10 minutes has elapsed you end up with the finished product, doesn’t it look scrumptious?!

For me, it wasn’t quite green enough so I decided to add some asparagus to the meal for only 2 net carbs per serving! I find it easiest to stick to my diet if I meal prep for the week. So I separated this into 5 servings and packaged it up to go!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Makes 5 servings, 450 cals each. 10% (6 grams) carbs/ 71% (35 grams) fat/ 19% (21 grams) protein

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg (14oz) Kielbasa sausage
  • 1 bag (12oz) shrimp
  • 2 bunches of radishes (roughly 25 small)
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • Himalayan salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Omaha Steak brand meat seasoning to taste
  • 30 stalks of asparagus

For another awesome KETO meal or appetizer using kielbasa check out this bacon bomb kielbasa recipe. Let me know if you tried this recipe, or one of the others tagged in this post. How was it? Are you doing the Keto, or a low carb diet? Let me know all the info!

For the Foodie

Beetles on a Log

So if the old tried and true healthy kid snack was ants on a log, I have now upgraded those ants to beetles!

I had almost half a bag full of walnuts left over after re-making one of my mother-in-law’s delicious recipes the week after we brought Leighton home from the hospital. She was so helpful and made us a huge serving of her delicious sausage and spinach cheesy penne pasta, a big salad with apples and walnuts and some extra mouthwatering buttery garlic pretzel bread to last us our first week of dinners at home. It was so good (no shock there), that when we ran out I went out to get the ingredients and remake it for the next week!

So with my leftover walnuts I figured it was time to lay off the carb overload, of pasta and bread, and finally get a kickstart into losing the baby weight and eating healthier for me and breastfed baby.

I washed and sliced up some celery and spread peanut butter on top and then opened the cabinets to find the half full bag of walnuts staring at me and though “why not?”. It was pretty darn tasty! Plus it was a win win to also use up some leftover ingredients before they went bad!

Ever since then, this has been a great choice for a mid-day snack to reenergize me to finish out the work day (or take my toddler to the park like I promised this morning).

PS: I’ll ask if I can post the recipes to my MIL’s yummy recipes later! She’s such an amazing cook!

For the Foodie

Zucchini Boats

So this is probably one of the tastiest ways I’ve made zucchini to date. If you want an anti-carb treat but wish you could have the yummy taste of pizza bread, this will feed those cravings! And it’s so easy to make!

Need:
2 zucchini
2 large tomatoes
Shredded or fresh mozzarella
Olive oil
Seasonings (I used: garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper)

Optional: turkey pepperoni

1. Cut the zucchini in halves
2. Slice a sliver off the bottoms so they will lay flat and not roll on the baking tray.
3. Drizzle with some EVOO
4. Season with garlic powder.
5. Lay sliced tomatoes on top and then a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
6. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes.
7. Take out and add the mozzarella, then bake for another 4-5 minutes.
8. Garnish with Italian seasoning or fresh basil.

**If you wanted to add turkey pepperoni, do so on top the tomatoes but before the cheese.

Enjoy!!

For the Foodie

Easter Deviled Eggs

Easter is just around the corner, last year we had so much fun making this adorable deviled egg bunnies! Why not try this adorable spin for your deviled eggs this year?

Deviled eggs are delicious, and usually a favorite for many, to take to any family gathering or cookout. But since it was our Easter together, I decided to add some cuteness to keep with the theme. So bunnies it was!

My kids had a fun time helping me count out all the ingredients (eyes, ears, noses, whiskers and eggs). And had a blast helping me make these little guys, so let your kiddos join in on the action too!

You will need:

  • 12 hard boiled eggs (cooled and peeled)
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 3 tbsp of mustard
  • 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of ground black pepper
  • Ground paprika for garnish
  • 72 mini chocolate chips
  • 1-2 celery stalks
  • 1-2 carrot sticks
  • Neon food dye
  • Vinegar

Steps:

  1. Halve the eggs and carefully scoop out the yolks. The egg white halves you will want to divvi up and soak for roughly 10 minutes in a food dye/vinegar solution. The longer they soak the better and brighter the colors will be.
  2. Place all the yolks into a bowl and add the mayo, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Mash and mix all these ingredients together until they are blended into a nice pasty substance. Place in the fridge for a few moments while you move along.
  3. Cut the carrot and celery sticks into smaller inch-long slivers and even smaller slivers for whiskers. You will need 48 of each. Once you are finished doing this you can have your little ones count them out two by twos and put them in pairs, as well as counting out the 72 mini chocolate chips by threes and grouping them together.
  4. While the kiddos are doing the counting, get the mixture back out of the fridge and the egg whites out of the dye. Since nobody I know ever has pastry bags on hand – just grab a ziplock bag and scoop some of the mixture into it. Cut a small hole in one of the bottom corners and voila!
  5. Pipe the yolk mixture into the egg white halves and sprinkle with a tiny bit of paprika. Then let your tots help you garnish the eggs with the chocolate eyes and nose, and alternating carrot and celery ears and whiskers.

Enjoy! 😉

For the Foodie

Avo & Ova

I love avocados so much! Whether its mashed up in guacamole or cubed up into a salad, avocado is one of my favorite fruits!

Why? Because they are a creamy, yummy goodness with nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients! So for a healthy snack I like to incorporate avocado as much as possible! Also, that healthy fat will keep you feeling full for hours! Those doing Keto can definitely appreciate all of these benefits!

Since eggs are packed with protein and low in calories, they are a great option to pair with avocado.

Here is my favorite way to incorporate avocado into my breakfast routine:

You will need (for two):

  • 1 – Ripe Avocado (Halved and pitted)
  • 2 – Eggs
  • 2 – Slices of Bacon (Crumbled)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Optional: Cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF
  2. Fry up a couple slices of bacon until crispy. Remove from pan onto paper towel lined plate and allow to cool before crumbling.
  3. Slice in half your avocado, and remove the pit. Using a ripe avocado that isn’t mush is the best way to go with this. You may need to remove a little extra avocado flesh in order to fit more egg.
  4. Place avocados into individual ramekins or a baking dish that will help them stay upright.
  5. Crack two eggs into a separate bowl. Add the yolk to each avocado first, and then spoon in the whites until the hole is filled.
  6. Salt and pepper the egg to taste.
  7. Bake approximately 15 minutes until the whites are cooked, and the center of your egg is as runny as you’d like. I started checking the eggs after 10 minutes and let it cook 17 minutes total.
  8. Remove from oven. Top with crumbled bacon (and/or cheese), and serve hot.
And here is one yummy option for a mid-day snack that requires very little cooking and is super easy:

An avo and ova pizza

You will need:

  • 1 whole grain tortilla
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 egg
  1. Mash the avocado up
  2. Smear onto tortilla
  3. Fry an egg any way you wish
  4. Place egg on top

Enjoy these super easy, super nutritious and yummy dishes and let me know what you think! What are your favorite ways to incorporate avocados? Or what is your favorite healthy treat?

For the Foodie

Best Pumpkin Cookies Ever

PUMPKIN PUMPKIN PUMPKIN!

 

I love PUMPKIN anything! And Fall just brings out the pumpkin-crazed baker in me! Here is one of my favorite recipes for fall. They are so soft and cake-like. And the mixture of pumpkin and butterscotch together is oh so yummy! The medics at work beg me for these year-round but I really only make them once the smell of leaves burning hits the air and I know fall is here!

 

Here is what you need (makes 14 – I usually make 3 batches per baking session – they go fast!):

•2 cups all-purpose flour
•1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
•1 teaspoon baking soda
•1/2 teaspoon fine salt
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•2 large eggs
•1 cup granulated sugar
•1/2 cup canola or corn oil
•1 cup canned pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1 cup butterscotch chips
•Powdered sugar for dusting

1. Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, coat the paper with butter, and set aside.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl, and set aside.
3. Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on on medium speed until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and paddle. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla, and mix until evenly blended. Add the flour mixture, and mix until just incorporated. Add in the butterscotch chips and mix until evenly distributed.
4. Using an ice cream scoop with a 1/4-cup capacity, scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 1/2 inches apart (alternatively, you can use a 1/4-cup measuring cup). Using a thin metal spatula, smooth the tops of the mounds.
5. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 16 minutes. Cool them on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. Dust the cooled cookies lightly with powdered sugar. The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Enjoy!! I don’t doubt that you will!

For the Foodie

Hanky Panky….wait, what?!

Yes, hanky panky is the name. Just as delicious as the deed, these are addictive enough that I’ve seen near fist fights for the last one!

 

 

I had never heard of or tried these appetizing little snacks until I met my husband. These are almost like a family tradition, a staple at every get-together. Christmas, Thanksgiving, or just weekend football parties – these are sure to be on the menu, and boy are they tasty! My mother-in-law gave me the recipe and I added a few spices to mine (because we like it hot).

You will need:

  • 1 loaf of rye cocktail bread (2x2in squares)
  • 1 lb of hot pork sausage
  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • 16 ounces of velveeta cheese
  • As much chile seasoning and red pepper flakes as your flaming heart desires
  1. Set the oven to 375
  2. Brown and drain all of the meat
  3. Add in the velveeta cheese to melt.
  4. Season (I always like to season my meat as it browns and then again once it’s drained and I’m adding the other ingredients) .
  5. Scoop a tablespoon or two onto each rye cocktail square.
  6. Put these bad boys in for about 12 minutes or so and then let cool.
Watch how fast these fly off the plate at your next family get-together!

**For a gluten-free twist, set aside a large bowl of the meat-cheese mixture and you still can enjoy this yummy gooeyness with some Tostito scoop chips.