Category Archives: Food

The Delicious Blueberry Peach Smoothie

Hello friends! After an unexpected (and very fun) trip to San Diego (much to tell!) I’m back in blogging action with a seasonal, easy, and delicious smoothie for you. It might give you so much energy you’ll want to go climb a mountain. Or at least be able to think about what to make for dinner.DSC_0189Here she is, the Blueberry Peach Smoothie. What a natural beauty.

DSC_0118After seven years of barren bushes our blueberries are finally bursting. Remember: good things come to those who wait. I time our vacations around blueberry season. I’m only kindof kidding.

DSC_0183We’ve eaten so many blueberries, our whole family is practically one fat blueberry. So that’s how we’ll start our smoothie – put ’em in the blender – especially the droopy and less desirable ones.

DSC_0185Now let us turn our attention to the peach, also in season at the moment. Is this a dreamy life we live or what? It makes me almost forget New Hampshire winters. One year I canned them and we enjoyed peaches in the middle of February, making New Hampshire life bearable. Alas, I have not been so ambitious since.

DSC_0366Cut peaches up, using white or golden varieties. I’m particularly obsessed with the white peach at the moment. Peaches are perfect in the smoothie because I cannot eat them with the skin on – to me, taking a bite of fuzz is akin to nails sliding down a chalkboard. You with me? DSC_0040  But now, we need some protein and fat that won’t upset the peach and blueberry taste. I went for avocado. Don’t freak out, just do as I say. Avocados hardly have any taste in a smoothie except to make it creamy and delicious. How to get the avocado into the blender? Just squeeze it out – it’s so easy! You can add the pitt if you’re feeling super nutritious and your blender can handle it (but I’ve never added the avocado skins.)

DSC_0134We just need one more eensy-weensy vegetable. We have a lot of carrots at the moment.DSC_0185 How about this one???DSC_0230 We grew funky carrots, but any old ones will do. We wash, but don’t peel. Throw carrots into blender and you’ve got yourself a smoothie!

Blueberry Peach Smoothie

  • 1-2 Cups Water
  • 1-2 Cups Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 Peaches
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1-2 Carrots
  • 1 Cup Ice-Cubes (if you like it cold!)

That’s it. Drink up and enjoy!

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Protein Power Bites: Chocolate Chip & Peanut Butter

We are creatures of habit. In our house we tend to make the same things over and over until we can’t stand it any longer (hello taco soup!) What a wondrous thing to discover a completely different, yet delicious snack: The Power Bite.

Ain’t nothing boring about these babies: healthy, delicious, so cute…DSC_0083 Power Bites are now a Maisymak staple. These little balls of yum-yum** are filling, make you feel good, and are chock full of incredibly healthy ingredients like chia seeds, hemp hearts, gogi berries, peanut butter, and coconut flakes. Oh yeah, there’s some chocolate slipped in, too.DSC_0085 We devoured this batch in a day or two – and the recipe makes a lot! Reluctant? I’ll tell you, I’m a little weird about “food in my food.” For instance, I absolutely can’t stand brownies and ice-cream “touching” each other. As a child, I carefully ate all my peas, wiped up the juice, and then could eat the rest of the meal. I’ve come a long way. Anyway, I like all this “stuff” together; it’s very chewy, muy delicioso! (espanol practica.)

A sampling of some of the ingredients:DSC_0072Hemp Seeds? Does it conjure up of marijuana? This is not that; but these will give you a high of a different kind (and are legal everywhere.) Sold in your local grocery store (look by the chia seeds, probably in the rice aisle or by Bob’s Mill Food), hemp seeds are heart-healthy and loaded with protein. Hemp seeds are almost tasteless, making them a great addition to other foods (like smoothies and homemade bread).DSC_0092 You can use dried cranberries, but I wanted more nutrition and less sugar. These are Gogi Berries, (I can only find on Amazon) a Himalayan Superfruit and Asian herbal medicine. They are non-GMO, gluten-free, and raw. High in protein, Vitamin A, Iron, and Vitamin C. Great for smoothies, yogurt, salad, oatmeal, AND power bites!DSC_0093 Unsweetened Coconut. A great source of healthy fat.DSC_0105I used a blend of Steel Cut Oats and Triticali (an optional, high-protein grain.)

DSC_0088Healthy, tasty, power-packed, easy to make – don’t you want a power bite, too? Don’t forget cute. This is definitely a cute snack.

Protein Power Bites: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip

  • 2 Cups Steel Cut Oats
  • 2 Cups Unsweetened Coconut
  • 1/2 Cup Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Hemp Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Goji Berries
  • 1 Cup Miniature Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 2/3 Cup Honey
  • 1 Cup Peanut Butter

DIRECTIONS

  • Measure out all ingredients into large bowl. Stir together.
  • Roll into balls or press hard into mini muffin baking pan. Put into refrigerator until ready to eat.

*A few helpful hints: these power bites are sticky; I found it was a little easier to roll into balls if my hands were slightly damp. I also tried using a cookie dough measuring scoop to make them a little more uniform. Either way works.

*The beauty of this recipe is the variation. Want to lower the sugar even more? Reduce the chocolate chips. Don’t have goji berries? Use cranberries, or eliminate all together if you don’t like dried fruit in snacks. Allergic to peanut butter? Try almond butter. Don’t have hemp seeds? Try flax, or skip this time! You just want to get the right about of “stick” to roll into a ball without too much mess.

It’s rather exciting, isn’t it? Questions or comments? Please leave one and share away!

**It was pointed out to me that my overzealous use of the word “yum” was…getting obnoxious. I believe I only used the word, “yum” once in this post and have not used it for at least a whole month while writing online. This is difficult for a “yum” kind of gal who dreams of one day opening “The Yum-Yum Shop.” I hope you are appreciative of my efforts and restraint.

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Luscious Lemon Crumb Bars

Let me introduce you to my new obsession: the luscious lemon bar.lemonbar1I’m obsessed with lemons in general these days: lemon lotion, lemon dish soap, lemon smoothies (gut health!), lemon lemon lemon. It was only natural that these luscious lemon crumb bars entered into my existence.

I’ve fiddled and fiddled with the recipe, from the marvelous Annies-Eats blog, trying to whittle down the sugar and butter and to also use coconut flour. Let me tell you, it took several tries and multiple taste tests (poor me!) but by golly, I think we got it.

Does this luscious dessert still have sugar and butter? Yes. You will have share with your family and friends and not eat the whole thing yourself. As tempting as it is. Like, really is.

lemons1 Start with lemons! 3-4 large, depending on size.DSC_0012 Zest, zest, zest. My zester is a cheese grater so my zest is a little large. I happen to like the little bits, but you could vitamix it or chop into smaller pieces if you prefer.DSC_0013 Add lemon zest to 3/4 cup sugar. DSC_0016 Mix togetherlemons Add 4 large eggs and 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice. Whisk!DSC_0019 Using your double boiler (I make due by putting one heat proof pot on top of another) heat until it becomes a thick lemon pudding. From there you’ll add butter and a mixer. DSC_0022Don’t forget to compost!

For the dough: DSC_0023 Sugar, baking powder, all-purpose flour, coconut flour, salt, butter, and egg.dough Roll 3/4 of the dough into a ball, then roll into a square (or skip this part and just press into pan.) DSC_0026 Line an 8 x 8 pan with foil and press the rolled dough into it. Pour lemon pudding onto it, and top with remaining dough mix.cooked1 Bake at 350, 35-40 minutes.cooked Let cool to room temperature, cover, place in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat, lift the foil out of the pan and cut into squares.lemonbar2 So tart, so sweet, so buttery. So good.lemonbar3

Luscious Lemon Crumb Bars

Yield: 1 8×8 inch pan

INGREDIENTS

 Lemon cream filling: 

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest of 2 large lemons
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3-4 large lemons)
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter

Dough:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour (don’t have any? use regular flour)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 10 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg

DIRECTIONS

  • To make lemon cream, combine sugar and lemon zest in a heatproof bowl.   Whisk in the eggs until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Whisk in the freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water to form a double boiler.  Let the mixture cook, stirring frequently, until the cream thickens (around 175-180˚ F on an instant read thermometer).  Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool to 140˚ F (about 10-15 minutes).  Once cooled, add butter and whip on medium speed with a hand mixer (or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment) until the mixture is thick and pale, about 3-4 minutes total.
  • Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with foil.  In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, baking powder, flour, and salt, and stir together with a fork.  Cut in the butter and egg with a pastry blender until the largest chunks are about pea-sized.  The mixture should be crumbly without much loose flour.
  • Spread three-fourths of the dough mixture in an even layer over the bottom of the prepared pan and press down firmly to form the bottom crust.  Pour the lemon cream filling over the crust.  Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the lemon cream.
  • Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned and the center is just set.  Let cool to room temperature.  Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.  Slice and serve. Yum!

Slightly adapted from Annies-Eats, Creamy Lemon Crumb Bars

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Honey Whole Wheat Bread (delish!)

Here it is, my go-to homemade bread recipe passed down from the ancestors of old to me and now to you! Delicious, nutritious, easy to make, this bread winner is especially dreamy just out of the oven with a pat of melted butter…bread3The finished product may remind you of the good earth.

yeastYou’ll begin with hot water, honey or maple syrup, and a dab of shortening. (Brown sugar works well too, but we’re veering toward more natural products.) Next, using the same measuring cup used for the honey/maple syrup, you’ll add warm water and yeast. This way the yeast flirts with the sugar on the bottom of the measuring cup to make the magic happen.

risingAdd more water, a bit of salt, and white whole wheat flour and that’s it. The party has started.

bread2 The dough will rise twice for two super loaves. I like to bake bread on our baking stones, with a little corn meal laid down underneath. After the second coming rising, the dough looks like this beauty.

bread3 Bake at 400 for about 24-30 minutes. I mean, is that beauteous or what?

DSC_0041 If you prefer more traditional loaves, you can plunk dough in bread pans. Could even sprinkle some oatmeal on top. Let rise until double in size like so:DSC_0043We are now ready for the oven!

Time? Yes, homemade bread takes time. It requires a morning, afternoon, or evening at home so bread can rise. The anticipation is part of the joy of baking, adding one ingredient at a time, letting dough rise, the smell of flour and gluten rising in the air and then baked bread filling the kitchen while children jump at your feet (drooling. always drooling.)

bread6

 

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

1/2 cup hot water

1/2 cup honey or pure maple syrup

3 tablespoons shortening

1/2 cup warm water

3 teaspoons yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water

2 teaspoon salt

6 cups whole wheat white flour (OR 3 cups white flour and 3 cups whole wheat white)

Directions:

1. Combine first three ingredients: 1/2 cup hot water, 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup, 3 tablespoons shortening. Mix until dissolved. (I use a kitchen aid mixer with dough attachment but this is optional – bread can be made completely by hand).

2. Combine *next two ingredients: 1/2 cup warm water and 3 teaspoons yeast. Let stand about 5-10 minutes until frothy/bubbly. *(Use the 1-cup measuring cup you used for the honey/maple so the yeast will rise in the water.)

3. Pour yeast mixture into mixer/bowl where the first three ingredients are waiting.

4. Add 1 1/2 cups warm water, 2 teaspoons salt, and 3 cups of the flour. Beat vigorously to make a sponge. Mix in remaining 3 cups flour (and 1/2 cup wheat germ or cracked wheat if you like). Knead or mix, adding more flour as needed. You want to be able to knead or mix until it no longer sticks to your hands.

5. Leave in mixer bowl and cover with a damp towel or saran wrap, preferably in a warm place. Let rise until double in bulk (45 min-1hour.) Punch down. Form into two loaves. Put on prepared pizza stones (sprinkled with corn meal) or in bread pans (with a non-stick spray). Let rise double in bulk again (30-45 min).

6. Bake on 400 for 24-30 minutes until the bread is toasty brown.

yumAnd then you may eat.

Happy Weekend, bread fans!

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Simple Homemade Tomato Soup

Yesterday morning we had another school delay, due to 3-5 inches of SNOW getting dumped on New Hampshire. These are the times that try the souls of men. And mothers. The kids need to be outside romping! Dear Mother Nature, it’s time to move on to a different season. How do we cope? We make the ultimate comfort food: soup.DSC_0059 I owe the deliciousness to Curt, my dear brother-in-law, who prepared this classic tomato soup one year ago when I was in Utah, preparing to run the Salt Lake City Marathon. They don’t eat much meat in their family due to my sister’s stomach issues.

My mouth dropped open as his children devoured this tomato soup, asked for more, and ate it as leftovers the next day. I mean, I had to elbow my way in for a slurp; a soup is filled with vegetables. And the kids were loving it! It’s filling, delicious, and gut-friendly (and believe me, before and after a marathon your gut needs friends).

IMG_6991Let me introduce you to the leek. I’d never cooked with leeks before. What a beautiful food.

garlicFresh garlic was a Christmas gift. Priceless.

leeks1 Leeks, celery, onion, garlic will be your base, sautéed in butter.

DSC_0065 Topped with fresh cilantro. Are your salivary glands working?

DSC_0068 No fresh tomatoes? No matter. Canned work well in the middle of winter.

DSC_0063 Light, fresh, and packed with whole foods, you’re going to make your body happy with this dish.

Easy Buttermilk Biscuits
Easy Buttermilk Biscuits There are times when I like chunks in my soup. Adding vegetables adds nutrition and substance. Using an immersion blender makes this soup is classically smooth – and the kids are much more likely to eat it.. Paired with the easy buttermilk drop biscuits, this is one beautiful night at home. Does nothing spell love for the man like warm soup on a cold night? DSC_0064Homemade Tomato Soup

Homemade Tomato Soup

2 Tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

2 Leeks, chopped

1 Onion

1 Stalk Celery, chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 20 ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 Cup Water

2 Cubes Chicken Boullion

1 32 ounce Plain Tomato Juice

1 dash Nutmeg

1 dash cayenne pepper (depending on spice factor

1 Tablespoon Honey

Cilantro

Directions:

1. Saute butter, garlic, leeks, onion, and celery until soft.

2. Add lemon juice, crushed tomatoes, water, bullion, and tomato juice.

3. Add dash of nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and honey.

4. Bring to simmer so all the ingredients can meld into deliciousness.

5. Use an immersion blender (love this) or blender to puree soup. Add cilantro as a tasty garnish if you like.

And that, my friends, is all there is to it. May you eat soup, live long, and prosper.

xo.

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Easy Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

This is the easiest made-from-scratch biscuit you’ll ever make. And it’s ever so tasty.

Biscuit history: I loved buying prepackaged biscuits from the freezer & grocery section (Pillsbury! Red Lobster!) but after perusing the ingredient list, reading too much Food Babe100Daysofrealfood, and not being able to identify what exactly I was eating, I shed a sad tear and left them biscuits in the freezer section…wo, was me.

I turned to homemade biscuits, like these Greek Yogurt Buttermilk Biscuits (tasty!) but due to time rolling dough, molding, rerolling, remolding, etc…biscuits rarely happened around these busy parts.

Until now.

Hark! The Easy Buttermilk Drop Biscuit saves the day! Straight from my favorite cooking magazine, Cook’s Illustrated, “Drop biscuits are the non-nonsense alternative to traditional rolled biscuits.” So there.

Yes, white flour is used, but these drops of goodness are a huge upgrade from the highly processed alternative. This biscuit features ingredients I can pronounce, real butter and real milk from real cows. Also, they are so delicious.

biscuit3 And easy, did I say EASY? Similar to the Bisquick drop biscuit, I’m partial to these.

biscuit1 A pad of warm butter or perhaps a swivel of your local honey?

biscuit2Light, fluffy, the perfect compliment to any meal, especially warm soups on these cold windy days. I’m hungry now. Excuse me, I need to go make some more biscuits…

Easy Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour*

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk and 1 tablespoon vinegar)**

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly***

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 475. Put 1 stick (8 tablespoons) of butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute. Let cool.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Combine buttermilk and the 8 tablespoons cooled butter in medium bowl and stir until butter forms small clumps.

2. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. Using greased 1/4-cup dry measuring cup, scoop onto baking sheet.

3. Bake until tops are just golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Gobble!

compliments of Cook’s Illustrated

*Whole wheat white flour works well. Coconut flour does not; too crumbly with a flavor change.

**I rarely have buttermilk handy. I almost always substitute 1 cup milk and 1 tablespoon vinegar. It works perfectly. Lemon juice works but is more obvious. Yogurt not as successful.

***Make sure that butter is slightly cooled so you’ll get some butter clumps.

Happy baking!

 

 

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Dark Decadent Chocolate (that’s awesomely healthy!)

hearts2Healthy. Easy. Delicious.

Courtesy of my mother-in-law, this chocolate is dark and decadent. It tastes expensive, but is cheaper than any box of chocolates.

It’s mighty serendipitous that this tasty confection came just in time for Valentines Day as we are still trying to repent of our holiday gluttony.

You only need three ingredients:

Cocoa Powder, Coconut Oil, Maple Syrup

heartsPut ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until melted. Pour into bowl (glass or metal). Freeze for an hour of so. Done. No candy thermometers or complicated instructions.

Break up chocolate and eat.

I wanted heart molds for Valentine’s so I bought this one from Amazon. It worked beautifully. The candy pops out and the silicone is easy to clean – even dishwasher safe. I’m already dreaming of all the other little molds I must make..bunnies, groundhogs, four-leaf clovers, chickens…oh dear.

hearts4This chocolate is so dark (a major heart healthy benefit) that at first Paige (age 7) didn’t like it as much as the sugary Hershey’s, but I tell you, she’s come around. “Mmm, mom, can I have another one, please, please, please?”

For quality nutrition, the cocoa should be at least 65% cocoa. Most chocolate is very low in cocoa. This recipe also has coconut oil (a healthy fat that is easily used for energy) and maple syrup. Maple syrup is obviously a sugar, but pure maple has some health benefits. In addition, as the baker, you can control the amount used.

The first time I made this chocolate I didn’t add enough syrup and it was just too bitter. So I lazily poured a drop into the individual molds after the chocolate and coconut oil was in. Don’t do that. You’ll end up with this:hearts5The darlings didn’t mind. “Mmmm, it’s chocolate filled with maple syrup!”

Excited? Oh boy, I am!

hearts3

Homemade Dark Chocolate:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Cocoa Powder (high quality)
  • 1 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Pure Maple Syrup (use less or more depending on taste)

Directions:

Heat Cocoa Powder, Coconut Oil, and Maple Syrup on stove over medium heat until combined. Stir constantly. Taste (but be careful – it’s hot!) for sweetness factor. Pour into glass or metal bowl. Freeze. For molds: first pour melted chocolate into liquid measuring cup, then into molds. Freeze.  Done. Eat!

Helpful hint: Put the molds onto a baking sheet before you pour chocolate into it. Trying to move it later with hot liquid chocolate…is a disaster.

Recipe made 28 cute little valentine hearts.

In case your interested in the products I used:

Cocoa Powder from Sunfood or Trader Joe’s, Organic Coconut Oil from Trader Joe’s, Pure Maple Syrup from Tucker Mountain Maple, Valentine Mold from Amazon.

Perhaps you would also like:

Enjoy!

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How to Make Homemade Indian Naan

Super Bowl food? I think so!

Last week I waxed longingly of my Indian food obsession. Here’s the accompanying naan that will complete your life in every way.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

DSC_0084 For the dough: combine 1/ 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast, 3/4 cup warm water (not hot!), and 2 teaspoons honey. Stir to dissolve. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine 1 3/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and a couple grinds of pepper.

Pour foamy yeast mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated. It will look like this:DSC_0085 Add a little flour and knead the dough a few times in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until about double in size, about 1 1/2 hours. It will look like this:DSC_0087Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes, forming into a ball, like so:DSC_0092Cut the ball in half because you get to make two naans!DSC_0095Roll out on floured surface, making a circle of some sort. It doesn’t have to be perfect. If it was, I wouldn’t be the one showing you the recipe 🙂

The dough is done and ready to cook! But let’s give it some mouth-watering death-defying flavor…DSC_0097In a saucepan: add 1/2 a tablespoon butter, lots of salt and pepper, chopped onion, and a glob of chopped garlic. Let it cook until fragrant smells rise…mmmmm. Salivary glands are working.DSC_0103I over-rolled the dough, then awkwardly put it in the pan, smoothed it out and it was all good. It’s hard to mess up. Let dough cook for just a few minutes, checking the underside until it looks like this: naanFlip! Cook the other side until they both look like this.naan2 Admire it until your children jump up and down impatiently to just eat it already.DSC_0112Slide the naan onto a cutting board. You can cut or pull apart.DSC_0115Take a sniff, pat yourself on the back, and know your work for the day is done.

Indian naan is what my sister-in-law calls a “pusher,” you know that tasty piece of something you push the food around with that really completes a dish? This naan completes this Chicken Tikka Masala perfectly. Now you’ve got a dinner the whole family loves – my children gobbled so fast I had to fight for my share!

I don’t have anything against purchasing naan, especially from an authentic market or restaurant. Trader Joe’s does a nice one, but homemade is a hands-down winner. We don’t have to make everything by hand (thank goodness), but spending time to plant a seed or pick some kale or roll dough reminds me of this quote:

“The fast food culture sees that we forget – the best things take Time and Presence.”    -Alice Waters

Recipe is adapted from Iron Chef’s Alex Guarnaschelli’s Flatbread with Charred Broccoli and Roasted Grapes (we just happen to like onions and garlic 🙂

Indian Naan with Roasted Garlic and Onion

For Dough:
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2 teasoons honey
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
 
For the Topping:
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic or 1 whole garlic, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
 
Directions: 
1. Combine yeast, water, and honey. Let sit until frothy about 5 minutes.
2. In another bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. Incorporate wet with dry ingredients.
3. Knead in bowl a few times, adding flour as necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
4. Transfer dough to floured surface and knead about 2 minutes. Split dough in half. Roll out into a circle.
5. In round sauce pan, add butter, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper over medium-high heat. Cook until fragrant, a few minutes.
6. Add the rolled dough to pan. Cook until underside is brown and toasty. Flip and cook.
7. Transfer onto a cutting board. Pull apart or cut to eat!

 

May you have a most marvelous weekend! Love, Amy

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Indian Food: Chicken Tikka Masala

I have a fierce craving for Indian food at most times of the day. In my opinion it’s the perfect winter comfort food. Since we are hither and yon from quality Indian, I must make do on my own. Sadly, Chicken Tikka Masala is something I’ve failed at making too many times. What’s a mama to do? Ask The Professor of course. He threw in a little of this, a little of that, and ba boom, we had THIS.

(The man sure is handy, isn’t he?)

indian2Chicken Tikka Masala is an Indian staple with juicy pieces of chicken simmered in a creamy, spiced tomato sauce.indian1Now tell me, what’s not to like? Especially with that amazing flatbread Indian naan on the side?indian4Ingredients are likely on-hand or simple to procure. So. I think it’s time to get some Indian on!

Adapted from Rachel Ray Magazine, October 2014

Chicken Tikka Masala
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp garlic
1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 shakes red pepper flakes
2 shallots, chopped
2 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp curry powder
2 cans (14.5 oz each) fire-roasted tomatoes
2/3 cup whole milk
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup frozen peas
4 cups rice, cooked
Instructions:
1. Make rice so it’s ready to go!
2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, red chili flakes, and shallots, stirring often until fragrant (about 3 minutes).
3. Stir in the spices and cook 30 seconds.
4. Stir in the tomatoes, scraping bottom to incorporate spices.
5. Transfer sauce to blender and puree. Return sauce to the pan, stir in the milk, season with salt and pepper (we like a lot!) and bring to a boil.
6. Add chicken, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
7. Stir in the peas; simmer 5 minutes.
8. Eat up, my friends!

 

Oh, and by any chance were you drooling over the flatbread naan? The truth is, if you’re going to eat Indian, you have to have toasted naan to mop up the delicious Indian sauce. Never fear, that recipe is coming up next! And it’s wicked good.

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Cherry, Pistachio, and Coconut-Toasted Granola

A bit granola obsessed around the holidays? Join my party. I just can’t get enough. Here’s a Christmas granola that’s going to make you swoon with Santa spirit: Cherry, Pistachio, and Coconut-Toasted Granola.

May I suggest starting with Buddy the Elf’s favorite ingredient: Eric Johnson’s award-winning Tucker Mountain Maple Syrup?

photo (2)I always make a double batch because it goes so lickety-split. First, in a small saucepan, combine 1 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, 1 Cup Honey, and 1 Cup Pure Maple Syrup. Heat on low until small bubbles form around the side.

While that’s going on, assemble the dry ingredients.

photoIn a large bowl, combine oatmeal, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, pecan pieces, coconut chips, and a dash of salt. I cook my granola until it’s toasty dark. This time around it went a little too dark. “Just say it’s gourmet,” the professor advised. Gourmet sounds better than “burnt.”

granola2Gourmet, no? After you’ve cooked the granola, add dried red cherries and freshly shelled green pistachios. There you go! A beautiful, energy-inducing, homemade Christmas treat.

Some granola tips: from sad experience I have learned what not to do: do not cook the cherries or the pistachios. The cherries turn hard and the pistachios turn mushy.

Want granola that clumps? Sure, adding more sugary binder will help clump, but I didn’t want more sugar. Instead, Food52 advises adding a frothy (beaten) egg white to help stickage.

Two frothy egg whites were added. Clumps ensued. And life was good.

Super duper clumping: Bake granola as directed. Do not stir. When toasty brown, turn off oven and leave overnight. In the morning you’ll have a sheet of granola you can break apart with your hands, to your exact specifications!

granola Feast, my darlings.

photo 5Wrap it with a bow and give some Maisymak Granola Snack, Holiday Style. Fully loaded.

Cherry, Pistachio, Toasted-Coconut Granola

1 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1 Cup Honey

1 Cup Pure Maple Syrup

6 Cups Oatmeal (not instant)

1 Cup Pumpkin Seeds

1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds

1 Cup Walnuts

1 Cup Almonds

1/2 Cup Pecan Pieces

1 Cup Coconut Pieces

1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

2 Frothy Egg Whites (optional, for extra clumping)

1 Cup Dried Cherries

1 Cup Pistachios

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325. Must be low or granola will burn (another sad experience.)

1. In a small saucepan, combine the olive oil, honey, and maple syrup. Heat on low heat until small bubbles come to surface.

2. While wet ingredient are heating up, combine oatmeal, seeds, nuts, coconut pieces, and salt in a big bowl.

3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir.

4. Add frothy egg whites (I used a blender) and stir.

5. Line two cookie sheets with foil. Spread out granola. Cook for about an hour, checking to make sure granola doesn’t burn. For more clumps, resist the urge to stir the granola. Let cool and break up by hand.

6. Add dried cherries and pistachios.

7. Eat and/or scoop into bags for Christmas delivery!

Merry Christmas, friends! May you eat cherry, pistachio, toasted-coconut granola and never be weary again…

More holiday treats:

Sugared-Cranberry Brie Bites

Fudgy Black Bean Candy-Cane Cookie

Pomegranate, Mango, Mixed-Green Salad

A Runner’s Holiday Granola (Deseret-News Style)

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