Tag Archives: low fat

It’s Tomato Time! | Homemade tomato sauce & more!

25 Aug

photo 1

Oh hi there! It’s been a while! Hope your summer has been amazing. It’s so hard to believe that it’s nearly September. Wow! But before I go on and on about how I love the Fall, I’ll share a hint of what we’ve been up to recently—lots of cooking/making with fresh local veggies! Hooray!

Our amazing 90-year-old neighbor’s son dropped off a bag of tomatoes from her garden and one of our other neighbors (Ollie’s favorite!) invited us to “go shopping” his garden. What a treat! I’ve eaten my share of fresh garden tomatoes this year but this time we’d gotten so many at once and were a bit overwhelmed. So we decided to make our own red sauce.

This recipe is a mostly scaled down version (with a little twist) of the “Big-Batch Summer Tomato Sauce” from America’s Test Kitchen DIY Cookbook. It still made about 3 pints of sauce. We froze some & took some to Ollie’s favorite neighbor but truth be told, I didn’t share any with the other neighbor because she is Italian and I was completely intimidated. I did, however, thank her profusely for the amazing tomatoes the next time I saw her, so don’t worry. 

Also, I’m apologizing in advance for the lack of photos. I took some stellar ones but my phone got completely destroyed (run over by a highway full of cars) and failed to back up that day (Murphy’s Law!). Seriously, people. I know. 

Ingredients

5 lbs of fresh organic tomatoes (in season & garden fresh are the BEST!)
2 Tbsp of tomato paste (we didn’t have any so see how I improvised below)
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of organic cane sugar (you could use raw honey or brown sugar, too — or omit it altogether)
2 tsp dried basil (or 2 Tbsp fresh)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp of red wine vinegar

Steps

1. Oh crap! = The realization that you don’t quite have all of the ingredients to make what you want to make. What went wrong this time? Well, we didn’t have any tomato paste. I researched a bit online and most sources said to cook down (reduce) tomato sauce. Honestly, we were making 2 other things that night and I didn’t feel like waiting for a can of tomato sauce to reduce on the stovetop BEFORE I could make the tomato sauce. Then I remembered that I had a package of organic sun-dried tomatoes and I found this recipe for Sun-dried Tomato Puree (I followed the recipe exactly but omitted the garlic cloves & recommended additions because I wanted to keep it simple since I was adding it to a sauce recipe. I also don’t think I used quite as much olive oil as the 1/2 cup in the recipe when all was said & done).

2. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot over high heat and prepare an ice bath (ice & cold water) in a large bowl. Remove core from tomatoes and score a small X in the base of each. In batches, with a slotted spoon, lower tomatoes into boiling water & cook just until skins are loose, about 15-45 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tomatoes to the ice bath to cool (about 2 minutes). Take tomatoes out of the ice bath and remove loosened tomato skins (they will fall right off like magic!). 

3. Process garlic in a food processor until minced, about 10 seconds. Leave the garlic in the food processor.  Process peeled tomatoes, in batches, until almost smooth, 15-20 seconds. It’s okay that your garlic got a little more processed in the first batch of tomatoes. They’re all going to hang out together in step 4 anyway. Transfer each batch of pureed tomatoes to a large pot (we used a dutch oven). 

4. Add the garlic, sun-dried tomato puree (substituted for the tomato paste), basil and salt to the tomatoes and bring to simmer over medium heat. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened and reduced by 1/2  (about 1.5-2 hours). Stir vinegar and sugar into pot, seasoning with additional sugar to taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. You could easily can the sauce, but we opted to pour it into pint size mason jars & freeze what we knew we wouldn’t give away or eat in a couple of days.

Notes

This sauce was really tasty and fresh! While it took a while to make a lot of that time was simmering time (read: time when you can be doing lots of other things!).

It was the perfect recipe to use all of the fresh tomatoes that we’d never have eaten in time.

If you don’t like tomato seeds in your sauce (or you have picky kids), consider straining the seeds out before pouring the finished sauce into mason jars…or better yet…cut each tomato in 1/2 and scoop the seeds out with your thumb after step 2 above. 

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Simple Side Dish | Sriracha Honey Glazed Carrots

6 Dec

carrots

Since my Sriracha roasted brussels sprouts post was so popular, here is another really simple side dish recipe. How simple you ask? You are just three ingredients closer to tasty town. Y-E-S!

Sriracha Honey Glazed Carrots
serves 2

Ingredients

 1 lb organic whole carrots (cleaned, peeled and cut into circles)

1 TBS cold pressed olive oil

1 TBS Sriracha (hot chili garlic sauce) 

1 TBS local raw honey

salt and pepper to taste

Steps
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray or olive oil
3. Place the prepped carrots in a medium bowl
4. Combine olive oil and Sriracha, pour over carrots, stir to combine, make sure they are coated evenly.
5. Place coated carrots on to the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
6. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
7. Bake 20 – 30 minutes depending on the roast level you desire. Stir carrots half way through to ensure even browning.
8. Remove from oven, while the carrots are still hot place in a bowl and coat with the raw honey.

Notes
1. Sriracha is a sweet hot chili garlic sauce, 1 TBS will give you a slight heat factor, feel free to increase the Sriracha in this recipe to increase the heat!
2. Serve each portion in a vintage bowl. The bowl in the picture is not vintage, but it is cute and made by Marimekko.

All About Fall | Gluten Free Buttermilk Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

19 Oct

My friend Potter, recently went for breakfast a the Neighborhood Restaurant. This is a local family owned breakfast joint located in Union Square, right down the street from Bloc 11 Cafe, where he and I both work. Potter and I share a love for all things pumpkin and he was going on and on about these pumpkin pancakes he had there, my mouth was watering just listening to him….

Bloc 11 courtyard

Bloc 11 Cafe courtyard: Scarecrows need coffee too!

Of course, this lead me to an inner baking challenge, something I set myself up for on the regular,ha! I was determined to come up with delicious gluten free and/or on the healthier side pumpkin pancakes. King Arthur Flour’s gluten free pancake mix was on sale at Shaw’s, so I used this as the base for my pancake recipe. In another effort to ensure a successful gluten free recipe I researched online, but had no luck. I even posted an outcry to my foodie friends on Facebook, which yielded no recipe results… my determination grew.
In true Jess fashion, as Kate would call it.. I just made my own recipe up, ad-libbed and hoped for the best. And as luck would have it, they came out perfectly! Success.

#yum

#yum

Guten Free Buttermilk Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Makes 8 – 4″ round pancakes

Ingredients

1 1/3 cup King Arthur Flour gluten free pancake mix
1 cup organic or local whole milk (I used High Lawn Farm from Lee, MA)
1 tsp Bragg’s organic and raw cider vinegar
1 large organic egg
3 TBS 100% pure canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 TBS organic virgin coconut oil (melted)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1) Measure out the milk and add the cider vinegar to it, making your own buttermilk. Let sit for 3 – 5 minutes.

2) Whisk together the egg, pumpkin, buttermilk mixture, and coconut oil.

3) Whisk in the pancake mix and pumpkin pie spice.

4) Allow the batter to sit for 10 minutes to thicken.

5) Preheat a griddle or large flat grill pan. I used our gas stove and set the burner on 6.

6) Grease pan with a square of organic butter.

7) Scoop the batter by the 1/4 cupful or I used a #16 dough/portion scoop onto the lightly greased pan.

8) Cook for 1 – 2 minutes, until bubbles form on the tops of the pancakes and the bottoms are golden brown.

9) Flip and cook for 1 – 2 minutes on the other side. Serve hot, with organic butter and organic warm pure maple syrup.

These pancakes came out amazing, and you can’t even tell they are gluten free! There is a slight pumpkin undertone with just the right amount of spice to add to the flavor, but not mask the pumpkin. I would make these again in a heartbeat. The recipe made 8 full sized pancakes and a tiny silver dollar sized pancake, the perfect size to split between Stevie and Ollie and they gobbled it right up 🙂

Notes:
– This recipe could be made dairy free by substituting the milk for coconut, soy, or almond milk and replacing the butter with Earth Balance
– A great side, as pictured above is Applegate Farms Organic Sunday Bacon. (I cooked it in the oven on 400 for 15-18 mins on a parchment lined baking sheet*) *Oven baked bacon credit goes to our friends Laurie & Gabe 🙂
– Substitution suggestions for toppings: Maple Cream, Pumpkin Butter, or Baked Spiced Apples.

Cutest Pumpkins Ever!

Cutest Pumpkins Ever!

Happy Fall!

Beatin’ the Heat | Frosty Pup Treat Recipe

3 Jun

Ollie is 4!

It is hard to believe that Ollie turned four yesterday. It seems like only yesterday I found a post on Petfinder about a tiny special needs Red Boston Terrier, named Brass Monkey, when in all reality is was in the Fall of 2009. Truth is, if a good Samaritan hadn’t found a Craigslist ad posted in Texas, by a puppy mill breeder then he wouldn’t be with us today. We love our little guy, and he has brought tons of laughs, kisses, and joy to more than just our tiny little family

Kate and I  have little traditions we do to celebrate the pups and Sitar’s birthdays. Stevie always gets a real balloon that he loves, while Ollie on the other hand is afraid of balloons so each year Kate humors me and draws a birthday balloon for Ollie. We tape it above his crate on the wall! We also bake birthday treats for them, there is a great Pupcakes recipe in our blog that Kate posted and the pups adore 🙂 This year is was miserably hot in our apartment and I really didn’t want to subject any of us to turning the oven on, so I came up with a frosty birthday treat recipe for the pups that they inhaled.

frosty treat prep

Ollie’s Frosty Pup Treats
makes 8 frozen treats

Ingredients

1 – 6 oz container of Chobani Vanilla Yogurt*
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup of 100% pure canned pumpkin

*If you want to control the sugar content in this recipe, just substitute Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt. Dogs don’t need the extra sugar but we made these as an extra special treat so I sweetened them with the Vanilla Chobani.

Steps

1. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium size bowl

2. Place cupcake liners in a muffin pan.

3. Spoon the batter into the muffin pan, filling cups a generous half full. (I got 8 frosty treats out of my batter.)

4. Place in the freezer, our treats were frozen solid in 2 hours.

frozen treat unwrapped

Notes

  • These treats are great for pups with allergies, Stevie is intolerant to all things poultry, they are vegetarian, wheat, and soy free.
  • If you have difficulty removing the frozen treats from the muffin pan, just flip the pan over and run warm water on it for a few seconds.
  • The cupcakes wrappers are easy to remove and just peel off, no need for non-stick spray.
  • If you opt to use the Chobani Plain Yogurt, add some sweetness using molasses approximately 2 teaspoons should do the trick!
  • If you are looking for other flavors to mix it up for your beloved pups, try subbing the pumpkin out with an equal amount of sweet potato, peanut butter, or banana.

patiently waiting

This was the easiest birthday recipe I have created in a long time.

frosty treat massacre

On the other end of it, I think these birthday treats were gobbled up the quickest as well, ha! Stevie & Ollie devoured and approved.

Tiny Bites, Big Flavors | Turkey Sliders

4 Feb

Saturday afternoon at work I had thought of the perfect idea for dinner on Sunday night, Super Bowl Sunday night. I knew I would have to do some convincing when it came to getting Kate on board, but I was up for the challenge. You see neither one of us are sports fans, so I knew I couldn’t approach it from that angle. Quite frankly I know I was more excited in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl, especially since it features adoptable dogs that need homes and uses this event to promote adoption. P.S. We didn’t get to watch that much of the Puppy Bowl because Ollie was so into it, he kept standing in front of the TV on his hind legs and barking along with the puppies, cute, but not conducive to apartment living, ha!

My goal Super Bowl Sunday menu was going to feature all game day themed appetizers. Yes! As I had predicted Kate wasn’t into it, but as she often does she humors me and my crazy themed meal ideas. On one condition, that the menu items had to be healthier versions. Got it, the challenge was on.
I found this amazing hot spinach and artichoke dip recipe on Skinnytaste.com it was amazing. We paired it with Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita chips that were on sale at Shaw’s yesterday, bonus. As an added tip, because Kate had her contribution to the meal cooking in the oven, we made the dip and baked it in the toaster oven my parents gave us for Christmas and it came out perfect.

Kate wanted to make her Mom’s stuffed mushroom recipe, so we had those as well. Upon returning home from grocery shopping she realized that she didn’t buy the French Onion Soup packet that her Mom’s recipe called for, to substitute she finely chopped some shallots, sautéed them and added some garlic salt to the recipe and they were amazing.
On to our main course…
sliders
Turkey Burgers with Sriracha Aoli

Ingredients
1lb Ground Turkey

1/4 c Panko breadcrumbs
3/4 small white onion grated
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp grill seasoning
3 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
1 egg
2 TBS Dijon mustard

Steps
1) Place ground turkey into a medium size bowl

2) Grate the white onion directly into the ground turkey in order to get all of the onion juice into the mix

3) Add the remaining ingredients

4) Combine with your hands

5) On medium heat, heat a medium-sized skillet drizzled with 1 TBS of olive oil or sprayed with non-stick spray

6) Form the slider patties, make them approximately 3″ in diameter and 1″ thick

7) Cook for 3 minutes on each side, a meat thermometer should read the internal temperature as 165 degrees.

Sriracha Aoili

Ingredients
1 tsp Sriracha (hot garlic chili sauce)

4 TBS light mayonnaise
juice of 1/2 lemon
dash of salt

Steps
1) Combine the Sriracha, mayo, and lemon juice in a small bowl

2) Season to taste with a dash of salt

Notes:
1) We used Sara Lee dinner rolls for buns and they were the perfect size

2) To melt cheese on your sliders, once the burgers are done cooking, remove the pan from the heat, add one half of a slice of your favorite cheese to the top of each burger and place a sheet of aluminum foil over the pan, be sure to fold the foil in half so that it looks like a tent prior to covering the pan, this will keep your cheese from sticking to the foil.

3) The portions were two sliders per person and there was a little more than half of the ground meat mixture left last night, so tonight we are having ground turkey soft tacos in order to make our leftovers count.

4) For best flavor spread the aoli on each side of the bun, the bottom that the meat will sit on as well as the top to help anchor the greens.

Enjoy!

Two For One | Shredded Chicken & Enchilada Sauce

28 Jan

Make it count Monday, two recipes in one blog post. My ever thrifty self has been trying to meal plan on my day off and make the majority of our meals at the beginning of the week in order to have stress free healthy meals during the week when work is in full gear.

I’ve been using these simple principles:
– Cook at least one protein in the crock pot. Why you ask? Here are my tips… I can stretch one protein such as pork tenderloin, boneless spare ribs, chicken breasts, steak tips, etc. into about 2 -3 meals for Kate and I. Of course I get creative mainly because I can’t stand having the same thing over and over. One week we had steak tips cooked in the crock pot that we had with mashed sweet potatoes and kale chips, which then turned into asian spiced steak tacos with corn soft tacos and fresh lime juice.
– Save your money! Using the crock pot to cook at least one meal a week will save you money on utilities. One of my favorite crock pot recipe blogs, A Year of Slow Cooking, listed that there is documentation that suggests that a slow cooker uses approximately $0.02 of power per hour and that the monthly cost of using a slow cooker is $1.17. The slow cooking method of crock pots lends itself perfectly to less expensive cuts of meat that can be tough if not cooked using the low and slow method.
– Save your time! I only make slow cooker meals that require little to no prep ahead of time. That means less prep time, less dishes, and more time to spend with Kate and the pups 🙂

This week I made the recipe below originally posted on The Honest Company Blog.

Easiest Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken
serves 4

Ingredients
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (fresh or frozen)

1 16oz jar of your favorite salsa
1 onion finely chopped

Steps
1) Pour 1/3 of the jar of salsa covering the bottom of the crock pot

2) Layer the chopped onion over the salsa

3) Nestle the chicken breasts into the onion and salsa that is covering the bottom of the crock pot

4) Cover the chicken breasts with the remaining 2/3 jar of salsa

5) Cover and cook fresh chicken breasts on LOW for 7 hours. If you used frozen chicken breasts cook on HIGH for 6 hours.

Notes:
1) I used fresh chicken breasts and came out amazing, super moist and tender. Yum!
2) The salsa I used was Spike’s Salsa and it was the medium variety, but feel free to use whatever suits your heat level. I discovered Spike’s Salsa one week when it was on sale at the grocery store, it is really good and costs a fraction of the other bigger named salsa brands.
3) I removed the cooked chicken from the crock pot and shredded it using two forks, it basically falls apart on its own so you could use your hands if you want.
4) To store it, I placed the left over shredded chicken in a food safe storage container, we use these Anchor Hocking True Seal glass containers, then I added about 1/2 – 3/4 cup of the reserved cooking juices that were at the bottom of the slow cooker. Only use enough to mix into the shredded chicken to keep it moist.

sauce
Tonight I’m turning the left over shredded chicken into an Enchilada Casserole using a homemade enchilada sauce I made this afternoon.

Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Tomato Enchilada Sauce
inspired by America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients
1 TBS canola oil

1 14.5oz can of Organic fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 onion diced
3 garlic cloves minced
1 Fresno chile finely diced, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp sugar
2 TBS salsa
1/2 c water

Steps

1) Heat oil in a 1.5 – 2 QT sauce pan using med/low heat.

2) Start to cook onion, garlic, and chile in the heated oil to soften about 5 mins.

3) Add remaining ingredients and stir.

4) Bring sauce to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.

5) Simmer covered for 15 minutes.

6) Remove pan from heat, using an immersion blender submerge into sauce and blend until smooth. If you do not have an immersion blender a food processor or blender would work just as well.

7) Enjoy!

Notes:
1) The enchilada sauce recipe is totally vegan and low-fat!
2) It will freeze well in a freezer safe storage container, try using a canning jar just remember to leave approximately 1 inch of room in the jar before screwing on the lid.

 

Summer of Love | Picnic Recipes Galore

25 Jul

Summer is for harvesting garden goodies, hanging out outside — picnics, hammocks, BBQs & early morning outdoor bootcamp — cold brewed coffee, fizzy fruity delights, cooking with farm/our container garden fresh ingredients, crafty endeavors, new friends & romps with the pups. Phew…all that and we’re back in BlogLand with a vengeance!

We celebrated our first anniversary (and 7th year of togetherness!) over the weekend & it was filled with commissioned art (thanks to Nan Lawson, Flowers In May & the fact that paper is a traditional first anniversary gift), yummy food & sentimental goodness (Remember when I wanted a set of these ? Well, Jess surprised me with a vintage 1940’s set in mint condition. *swoon*).

custom illustration by Nan Lawson

custom anniversary illustration by Flowers in May

I had ambitious plans to surprise Jess with a romantic outdoor picnic — filled with smartly designed paper goods, mason jars upon mason jars, yummy food reminiscent of our wedding catering — spread on a handmade little blanket/quilt made out of fabric from our wedding. But I participated in ArtBeat as a craft vendor on Saturday & totally ran out of time (despite planning the picnic menu & starting projects months ahead of time).

my table at ArtBeat! Opal & Ollie Etsy shop opening in August! stay tuned…

So…the weather forecast wasn’t promising & I decided, the morning of, that we’d either eat inside or on the deck. Oh, and, I didn’t finish the blanket but I made really great progress & will finish it one night this weekend. We used an adorable picnic blanket as a tablecloth that our friends Cobi & Sarah gave us as a wedding shower gift. K.I.S.S., right?

Now on to the good stuff!

The menu (with links to recipes & my notes)…

Deviled eggs | Recipe: Mark Bittman (basically your traditional deviled egg recipe: hard boiled eggs, dijon mustard, mayo, S&P) | I topped each with a tiny bit of dill relish instead of paprika.

BLT corn salad lettuce wraps | Recipe: Joy the Baker | This charred corn salad was incredible. I used high quality bacon & oven roasted it. Charring corn in a small apartment kitchen over an open gas burner flame is amazingly fulfilling! I wondered if the corn would actually cook & it did…perfectly! It turned a darker yellow as the kernels crackled & blackened. Mess warning: the stovetop was eat-off-of-it clean before this endeavor & corn shrapnel was everywhere after 3 ears of corn were nicely charred. Well worth it though!

Best berry salad | Recipe: Our very own!

Chocolate yogurt snack cakes | Recipe: Smitten Kitchen | Ah-mazing! I added a teaspoon of espresso powder to the recipe to bring out the depth of chocolatey goodness & dusted the cooled cakes with a little bit of powdered sugar. I’d make them again in a heartbeat. Oh, I had trouble finding whole milk yogurt (weird because I remember seeing it years ago – before the shelves were overflowing with a million brands of Greek style yogurt) so I opted for 2% Swiss yogurt.

Coconut rice pudding with fresh mango | Recipe: Mark Bittman (traditional rice pudding from How to Cook Everything, see very bottom of this post for recipe) | I substituted light canned coconut milk for the cow’s milk. I also added a teaspoon of vanilla extract after the pudding finished cooking. I served it cold with diced fresh mango to mimic the flavors of Jess’s favorite mango sticky rice dessert from a local Thai restaurant.

Home-brewed Arnold Palmers | Recipe: Tyler Florence | The slushy & bright homemade lemonade makes this drink extra special. Definitely prepare this a few hours ahead of time as all of the components need to be nice & cold. Served up in a mason jar with tiny heart etched in the glass (by yours truly!).

mis en place: chocolate yogurt snack cakes

roasting corn!

the spread!

Arnold Palmer with a twist

Rice Pudding (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything)

Ingredients:
2 cups water

1 cup long or short-grain rice (I used arborio)
dash salt
2 cups milk (I used canned light coconut milk)
3/4 cup sugar, or more to taste (3/4 cup was plenty for our taste)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or cardamom (I skipped the spices because I knew I wanted to top with mango)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Steps:
1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan; stir in the rice and the salt. Cover & cook over low heat until almost all of the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

2. Uncover, pour in the milk, and cook, stirring frequently, until about 1/2 the milk is absorbed. Stir in the sugar and spices and continue to cook until the rice is very soft and the milk absorbed. About halfway through the cooking, taste and add more sugar if necessary. 
3. Spoon into custard cups and serve warm or cold, garnished with whipped cream. I served it topped with diced fresh mango. 

This keeps well for 2 days, or more, covered and refrigerated. Serves 8.

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