Thursday, October 31, 2013

Spiked Caramel Apple Cider

Spiked Caramel Apple Cider is fall in a glass. It's easy to make and tastes like a grown-up caramel apple. We had a chili cook-off a few weekends ago, and this adult beverage was a hit. Combine 4 parts apple cider to 1 part caramel vodka, and serve chilled or warm. Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Snickerdoodle Sandwiches

Snickerdoodles are a family favorite recipe, and Pumpkin Cream Cheese Snickerdoodle Sandwiches are a delicious fall twist on our favorite cookie. A crisp, classic, cinnamon-sugar cookie filled with creamy pumpkin cream cheese frosting is the perfect fall dessert.

I appologize for the bad iPhone photo.  I made these cookies a month ago to take to dinner at my grandparents for the first weekend of fall. My family devoured these cookies, as they disappeared within minutes around my grandparent's dinner table. Good food is always better shared with family!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Snickerdoodle Sandwiches
·1 recipe for Snickerdoodles
·8 oz cream cheese, softened
·1/2 cup pumpkin
·1/3 cup brown sugar
·1/2 tsp cinnamon
·1/4 tsp nutmeg
·1/8 tsp cloves
·1/8 tsp allspice 
·1/2 tsp vanilla

Prepare Snickerdoodles according to recipe directions. For the frosting, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Beat on medium speed until well-combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve, spread a spoonful of pumpkin cream cheese frosting on the bottom of one cooled cookie. Top with another cookie. Serve immediately, or keep pumpkin cream cheese in the fridge until ready to assemble to serve.

Note: The pumpkin cream cheese recipe makes more than what you need for the cookies, but go ahead and make the full recipe. You'll be glad you didn't cut the recipe in half when you have extra to enjoy with apples, graham crackers, bagels, pretty much anything!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Skinny Mojitos

Mojitos are one of my favorite cocktails - so light, flavorful, and very refreshing. While fall is my favorite season and I've been enjoying fall cocktails, which I'll post later this week, I'm preparing for a much needed beach vacation. One sip of a mojito instantly places my mind on the beach.

Skinny Mojitos
·6 mint leaves
·1 lime
·4 oz club soda
·2 oz clear rum
·3 tsp sugar

Muddle mint leaves with juice from half of a lime and sugar. Combine remaining ingredients and shake in a cocktail shaker. Serve with remaining lime juice squeezed into a glass. 

Serves 2

Note: For a Skinny Blueberry Mojito, add a handful of blueberries to the mint and lime juice when muddling.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Avocado Tomato Basil Pasta

Avocado Tomato Basil Pasta is a light, fresh, and creamy pasta dish. It comes together in less than 30 minutes, tastes delicious, and the flavors remind me of summer.

Avocado Tomato Basil Pasta
·10 oz gluten free elbow noodles (I used Tinkyada)
·4 slices turkey bacon, chopped 
·1 TBS extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
·1 tsp minced garlic
·1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
·Salt and pepper to taste
·2 TBS lemon juice
·1 avocado, sliced
·3 TBS fresh basil, chopped
·1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta in salted, boiling water according to package directions.

In a medium pan, cook bacon in 1/2 TBS of EVOO until crisp. When crisp, add garlic and cherry tomatoes. Cook on low for 3 minutes. Add salt, pepper, lemon juice, and remaining olive oil. Stir, including anything stuck to bottom of pan to deglaze pan. Cook a few more minutes until tomatoes are softened. Remove from heat, stir in avocado, basil, and cheese. Remove from heat, stir in cheese, and serve.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Nutella Swirled Banana Bread

I can't even find the right words to describe this Nutella Swirled Banana Bread. Classic banana bread with a hint of cinnamon stirred with gooey, chocolatey Nutella is heavenly. I baked this a few weeks ago and brought it for a weekend at my parents. It was enjoyed by all and quickly disappeared. Amazingly delicious! Classic Banana Bread doesn't stand a chance in my kitchen next to Nutella Swirled Banana Bread anymore.

Nutella Swirled Banana Bread
·2¼ cup oat flour                            
·¼ cup white sugar
·¼ cup brown sugar
·1 tsp baking soda
·1 tsp salt
·1 tsp cinnamon
·¼ cup olive oil
·⅓ cup skim milk
·2 eggs
·1 tsp vanilla
·3 over-ripe bananas
·½ cup Nutella 

Preheat oven to 350˚. Combine all ingredients, except Nutella, in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Heat Nutella in a microwave safe bowl for 10-15 seconds (just until melty/softened, be careful not to microwave too long or it hardens). 
Pour 1/3 of bread mixture into a greased loaf pan, top with 1/3 of Nutella. Swirl together with a butter knife. Repeat two more times. Bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly then loosen sides of loaf and remove from pan. Cool completely before slicing.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Chicken, Asparagus and Spinach

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Chicken, Asparagus and Spinach is a filling one pot meal. I love one pot meals that incorporate protein, veggies, and grains. This pasta dish is packed full of fresh lemon flavor and is healthier with Greek yogurt as the cream sauce.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sparkling Peach Black Tea

While peach season has officially passed, I don't believe good things should only be enjoyed when "in-season." This Sparkling Peach Black Tea is definitely one of those good things that should be enjoyed year round. It's the perfect balance of refreshing and sweet.

Click here for recipe from Iowa Girl Eats

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chicken Souvlaki and Tzatziki Sauce with Rice


The flavors in this Mediterranean inspired Greek dish are amazing. The chicken is perfectly seasoned with lemon, garlic, parsley, and oregano. The cool and creamy tzatziki sauce seasoned with lemon and mint provides a nice contrast to the chicken. While this dish normally would be served with naan, to make it gluten free I served over a bed a brown rice topped with vegetables. This dish is definitely a new favorite for my family.

Click here for recipe from Rachael Ray - just serve over brown rice instead of garlic naan to make it gluten free.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hot Caprese Dip

Hot Caprese Dip combines 3 ingredients - creamy mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, and sweet basil - that's perfect with tortilla chips. The flavor of this dip was incredibly fresh, but it was watery and hard to dip. The fresh tomatoes get even juicier when baked, which resulted in a watery dip. The fresh mozzarella I used molded together when melted, making it impossible to dip. No worries, with my love of caprese, I had no problem eating this dip with a spoon.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Open-Faced Tilapia "Clubs"

This past summer, I posted a recipe for Grilled Bacon Wrapped Tilapia with Red Potatoes. My husband and I didn't care for the combination of bacon and tilapia then, but we definitely do now that we've tried this Open-Faced Tilapia "Clubs" recipe. Coating the tilapia in cornmeal and topping it with bacon is all we needed to love bacon and tilapia served together. This dish is balances crispy fish and bacon with fresh spinach and juicy tomatoes. We served with a rice and veggie pilaf.

Open-Faced Tilapia "Clubs"
Adapted from Rachael Ray

·4 slices turkey bacon
·1 cup cornmeal
·1 tsp dried dill
·1/2 tsp chili powder
·2 tilapia fillets
·Salt and pepper
·2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
·Handful of fresh spinach
·Handful of cherry tomatoes
·Juice from 1 lemon

Preheat to 375°. Arrange the bacon in a single layer on a pan and roast until crisp, 20 to 25 minutes; halve crosswise.

On a plate, combine the cornmeal, dill, and chili powder. Season the tilapia with salt and pepper on both sides and coat with the cornmeal mixture. 

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 TBS EVOO, over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook, turning once, until dark golden, 8 to 10 minutes total. 

Place a tilapia fillet on a plate, top with bacon, spinach, and tomatoes. Squeeze the lemon on top and serve. Serves 2.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Double Chocolate Muffins

Can you believe these decadent chocolate muffins are less than 100 calories a piece? They are – as long as you follow the recipe link below. I don’t use sugar substitutes, so I used real brown sugar. I’m not sure what that does to the calorie count, but I’d like to think they are still low calorie! 

These Double Chocolate Muffins are not overly sweet, so they do taste somewhat like a “healthy muffin.” I still enjoyed them for breakfast with a glass of skim milk for a good week straight. Despite being low calorie, one muffin filled me up until lunch time. Which I’m attributing to them being made with oats and Greek yogurt.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Nutella No Bake Cookies

One of my younger sisters and I loved making No Bake Cookies growing up. They were easy for kids/teens to bake and we loved how sweet they tasted. Our favorite way to enjoy them was when they were still warm. Being from a large family, No Bake Cookies were rarely enjoyed the next day. Most disappeared within hours, okay sometimes minutes.

While No Bake Cookies don't photograph well, trust me that this Nutella twist on No Bake Cookies is delicious. I substituted applesauce for butter and reduced the sugar; I'm convinced this minor substitute counteracts the Nutella to make the cookie "healthier". Just trust me on that math. :) 

What I loved about these cookies is that they didn't harden/firm up too much the next day. They were still soft - just the way I like them, with fond childhood memories on the side.

Nutella No Bake Cookies

·1 cup sugar
·½ cup cocoa
·½ cup milk
·½ cup applesauce·1 tsp vanilla
·1 cup peanut butter
·3 cups oats
Mix sugar, cocoa, and milk in large pan. Add butter until melted. Add peanut butter until melted. Add vanilla. Stir until boiling. Boil 5 minutes. Add oats. Drop on wax paper by teaspoon. Let cool and enjoy.

Yield: 24 cookies.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Nutella Stuffed French Toast

Nutella French Toast! Warm, chocolatey Nutella sandwiched between two pieces of gluten free French Toast. Do I even need to say more? It's rich and perfectly sutiable for an indulgent weekend breakfast in my books! It tastes great by itself, but could be topped with fresh berries, powdered sugar, or maple syrup to taste even better.

Nutella Stuffed French Toast
Adapted from Heather's Dish

·4 slices of Udi's gluten free sandwich bread
·2 TBS Nutella
·1 egg
·¼ cup milk

Directions:Whisk together egg and milk in a shallow dish. Set aside. Spread 1 TBS of Nutella between two slices of bread. Dip each side of the sandwich into the egg mixture. Cook in a non-stick skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side. Repeat for other sandwich. Serve immediately.

Serves: 2