Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Uncle Rock's Cheesecake

This recipe is my next-door neighbor's, uncle's cheesecake recipe...a little roundabout, but so good! They had my husband and I over for dinner, served this for dessert and then shared the recipe: A dangerously simple dessert!
I love the crisp white top layer, makes a more polished look!

8oz Cream Cheese (Room temperature)
1/2 C. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 Tsp. Vanilla
2 Eggs
1 C. Sour Cream
2.75 Tbsp. Sugar
1/4 Tsp. Vanilla

Graham Cracker Crust (I bought it for convenience, but homemade would be better: http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2014/06/perfect-graham-cracker-crust/)

In a stand mixer, put sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and mix. Add in 1 egg at a time. Mix and pour into your pie crust.

Bake 30 minutes (sometimes up to 45 depending on the oven) at 325 degrees... you don't want it to be too jiggly.

Topping: Once the cake looks done pull out of oven and top with the sour cream mixture, put back in the oven for 10 minutes. Take it out and set to cool. Put in the fridge... overnight is the best.

A very pretty cheesecake that tastes best with fresh berries!

Blueberry Banana Pancakes

These are AMAZING. I seriously have no idea where my new love of pancakes has come from...but they are just such a fun weekend breakfast! The original recipe, from Food and Wine, was a little tricky in the actual cooking, but easy once you got the hang of it!

I love how the banana caramelizes!

2 C. Flour
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
2 Tsp. Baking Soda
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Salt 
3 Eggs
2 C. Buttermilk (easy to make- Stir 2 tablespoons of white vinegar into 2 scant cups of milk, let rest for 5-10 minutes)
4 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, Melted
3/4 C. Blueberries
2 Bananas, Sliced Lengthwise, 2/3" thick and cut to fit the pancakes
Powdered Sugar
In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk. Quickly stir in the flour mixture, then stir in the melted butter and blueberries. Heat a griddle over medium low heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Ladle 1/4 cup of the batter per pancake onto the griddle, leaving room for the pancakes to spread. Lay a banana slice in the center of each pancake and cook until bubbles appear on the surface, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown on the second side, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Note: The hot surface needs to be wiped down before cooking each set of pancakes because the bananas leave too much sugar on the griddle and will cause the next one to burn.
Such a moist and flavorful pancake and a great addition to breakfast!

Butternut Squash Penne with Bacon and Sage

Almost like macaroni and cheese...but healthier! (cause bacon and pasta are totally healthy....)

1 Butternut Squash
1/2 Box of Penne Pasta
5 Slices Bacon
8 Fresh Sage Leaves
1/2 C. Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 C. Panko Bread Crumbs
Crushed Red Pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and place cut side down on pan. Roast for 30 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven and set aside. Cook the pasta per directions and drain. Once the squash has cooled enough to handle, scoop/cut out the insides. It doesn't matter if they are neat, but bite-sized. Place in 13x9 dish and season liberally with salt and pepper. Add the pasta and stir. Drizzle with olive oil.

Cook the bacon and then blot dry. In the hot grease, drop the sage leaves and fry. Remove and blot as well. Crumble the bacon and sage over the pasta, and stir. Top with cheese, bread crumbs, crushed red pepper and broil for 2 minutes on high.

This is a fairly light dish- the butternut squash makes it creamy, the parmesan adds tang and the bacon has the final crunch!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Au Natural: Cloth Wipe Solution and Diaper Rash Cream

We decided to cloth diaper. Not because it's easy or saves lots of money (it does save, but not enough to make a difference in my book for one kid)...but because it's a small way of us reducing our carbon footprint. As I have gotten into it, I have seen so many more benefits! They help prevent "blow-outs," eliminate typical diaper rash and are pretty darn cute! They do however cinch tightly around chunky baby thighs and can allow for ammonia burns during nighttime use-- so I started using a "CD" safe cream for Andrew's thighs at night. With cloth diapers....come cloth wipes. Sound ridiculous? Not at all! If I am throwing my "CD" into a wet bag, it's actually easier to throw a cloth wipe in there too, instead of using a regular one and throwing it into the trash. Below are the "recipes" I use for my cloth wipe solution and my diaper cream.
Cloth Wipe Cleaner
4 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
4 Tbsp. Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castille Soap ( I use citrus)
8 Drops Tea Tree Essential Oil*
4 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
4 Cups Distilled Water (just boiled water that's cooled)
Mix all ingredients. You can pour over cloth wipes and store in a container or use spray bottle and dry wipes. (I use baby washcloths- I ordered 30 off of amazon and it's way more than I need with every other day diaper laundry.) This makes a quart.

Cloth Diaper-Safe Rash Cream

3 Tbsp. Beeswax (pellets are super easy and available at Whole Foods or Amazon.com)
1/2 C Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
5 drops each Lavender and Tea Tree Essential Oils*

Melt the coconut oil and beeswax using the double boiler method (You can use the microwave- but be careful of spills!!). I melted it in the container I was going to use for easy clean-up. Add the essential oils, stir and let harden. I originally did the recipe with less beeswax and it was too runny. If you find that is the case- reheat and add more!  Makes 2- 4oz. mason jars.

Creamy consistency** and smells delicious!
* Some people are weird about using Tea Tree oil on infants. I have no issue and it is a very diluted amount in both recipes. It's inherent anti-fungal properties add so much benefit to both.

** If your house is warm, the cream can melt a little due to the nature of coconut oil.

Just some natural products to add to your baby care regimen!
Enjoy, e

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Thai Style Larb Salad

This was such a yummy, LOW CARB dinner! I always love Thai food and this is a fun twist on Larb (Minced meat salad from Laos and Thailand). It's healthy, easy and the perfect fresh dinner dish on a summer day. Adapted from this recipe.

Salty Peanuts, creamy avocado and zesty dressing make this salad appetizing and filling.

1 lb. Ground Turkey
1/4 Red Onion, Finely Chopped
5 Garlic Cloves, Minced
Red Chili Flakes
2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
1/3 C. Fresh Mint, Chopped
1/3 C. Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
1 Head of Romaine Lettuce, Chopped
1 Avocado, Sliced
1/2 Cucumber, Chopped
1/2 C. Peanuts, Chopped

2 Limes, Juiced
3 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp. Agave Nectar
2 Tbsp. Sriracha

In a small bowl, combine ingredients for dressing and set aside. In a bowl, combine the turkey, onions and garlic. Heat coconut oil and add the turkey mixture. Season with salt, pepper and chili flakes. Sauté until thoroughly cooked, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and add half of the dressing and stir. Once the meat has cooled a bit, stir in the mint and cilantro. Serve on a bed of lettuce with avocado and cucumber, sprinkled with peanuts and more dressing as desired.
Serves 4.

This meal took about 25 minutes to make...from chopping to serving, that's a quick turnaround! Such a light meal, you don't feel guilty for having seconds on dessert later(which I totally did).


Monday, June 2, 2014

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

I am not a waffle or pancake person...it's just not my thing. I would choose breakfast burritos or bacon and eggs over syrup covered flapjacks any day; but, when I saw this recipe I was impressed.
#1 It looks SO fun. 
#2 I love cinnamon rolls. 
And those 2 reasons were good enough for me! That and my husband never gets pancakes, so I thought it would be a nice surprise.

My icing was a little lumpy....make sure your cream cheese is room temp!

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, just melted
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
(OR just use Bisquick....)

Make the cinnamon filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop into a ziploc bag and set aside.

Prepare the glaze: In a small pan, heat the butter over low heat until melted. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cream cheese until it is almost smooth. Sift the powdered sugar into the pan, stir and add in vanilla extract. Set the pan aside while you make the pancakes.

Prepare the pancake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the milk, egg and oil, just until the batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).

Cook the pancakes: Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-heat and spray with nonstick spray. Use an ice cream scoop (or 1/3 cup measuring cup) to add the batter to the pan. Use the bottom of the scoop or cup to spread the batter into a circle (about 4-inches in diameter). Reduce the heat to medium low. Snip the corner of your baggie of cinnamon filling and squeeze the filling into the open corner. When your pancake begins to form bubbles, add the filling. Starting at the center of the pancake, squeeze the filling on top of the pancake batter in a swirl (just as you see in a regular cinnamon roll). DO NOT let the filling go to the edge. IT WILL BURN.

Cook the pancake 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bubbles begin popping on top of the pancake and it's golden brown on the bottom. Slide a wide spatula underneath the pancake and quickly flip it over. Cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the other side is golden as well. When you flip the pancake onto a plate, you will see that the cinnamon filling has created a crater-swirl of cinnamon.

Wipe the pan with a paper towel after cooking each set of pancakes because the filling will get a thick layer  on pan and start to get smoky and burn consecutive pancakes. Repeat with the remaining pancake batter and cinnamon filling. Serve pancakes topped with a drizzle of glaze.

These were super fun and delicious! Definitely a fun addition to the weekend breakfast repertoire.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Oat-Coco-Peanut-Choc Chip Cookies (aka Lactation Cookies)

Don't get freaked out about these being "Lactation Cookies." They are honestly just really deliciously healthy cookies...they just happen to help with a nursing mother's milk supply. Courtesy of the Brewer's Yeast in the recipe, which also has numerous other benefits including: being a source of B vitamins, protein and lowering blood sugar. The original recipe is here, but I modified it for my taste :)

Note: The brewers yeast is the magic ingredient…make sure you do not use the bread yeast. You can find it at GNC, Whole Foods or health stores in the protein powder aisle.

Brewer's yeast is typically really bitter...
but with all the yummy ingredients,
you can't taste it at all!

2-1/4 C. Whole Wheat Flour
2-1/2 C. Oats
1.5 Tsp. Baking Soda
1.5 Tsp. Salt
1-1/4 C. Peanut Butter
3/4 C. Butter, Softened
1.5 C. Flax
2.5 Tbsp. Brewer's Yeast
1/2 C. Water
3/4 C. Sugar
3/4 C. Brown Sugar
3 Tbsp.Vanilla
3 Eggs
3 C. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1.5 Cups Shredded Coconut
1/2 C. Walnut, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, oats, baking soda, salt and set aside. Beat peanut butter, butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, brewer’s yeast, flax and water until creamy. Mix in eggs. Gradually add in flour mixture. Mix in chocolate chips, nuts and coconut.
Spoon dough onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 12 minutes and let rest for 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheets.
Makes 3 dozen.
3 dozen makes enough to freeze and thaw
 throughout the first 2 months of post partum

These are delicious and full of nutrients! I am hoping to see the benefits too!
Keep you posted,