Archive for January, 2013

Power Balls

Monday night, I made a bunch of these power balls to serve as a pick-me-up for my first week back at school. For some reason, the first week of school is always the most exhausting. Probably because I’m still getting into the groove of things, have to deal with getting to school early to figure out parking, and listen to the standard lecture of “here’s what I except of you this semester” over and over again. Needless to say, the days of the week all blur together. Thank goodness for a little pick-me-up.

Now, I’ve been making these power balls for awhile now (not to be confused with my energy balls). In fact, I made them a lot for my sister when she was trying to adjust to her work and eating schedule at her new job. At Halloween time, a bunch of her coworkers brought in candy to share with the office. My sister actually declined the candy in order to eat the power balls as she said that the balls were more tasty and satisfying. Since then, several of her coworkers have asked for the recipe!

Power Balls

 Power Balls 

Ingredients:

1 cup oats

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup shredded coconut flakes

1/4 cup flaxseed

1/4 cup honey

2 tbsp peanut butter (or vanilla) protein powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp total of raisins and/or chocolate chips

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and roll into balls. If the mixture is too dry, add more peanut butter. If the mixture sticks to your hands too much, add more oats. Store in the fridge.

ImageMy house Monday night: a factory of power balls 

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No-Crust Feta, Spinach, and Mushroom Pie

It’s almost time. Yup, that’s right. Back to school! Oh winter break, how I will miss you. This semester is going to be sooo crazy. I’m pretty much on campus from 7:30 in the morning till 5:00 at night Monday through Friday. Happy happy, joy joy. Actually, I’m kinda excited because I’m taking sign language! It’s one of those classes I’ve always wanted to take 🙂

Hmm, do you think eating a bunch of spinach will give me enough energy? Hey, it worked for Pop-eye, right? I think it’s worth the attempt with this:

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 No-Crust Feta, Spinach, and Mushroom Pie 

Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 lb fresh spinach

1 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed, chopped

3/4 cup shredded or crumpled feta

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp pimentos

1 tbsp dried parsley

1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

pepper to taste

3 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup whole wheat flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 8 or 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray. Fill a pot with about 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Gradually add spinach and stir until wilted (you can also simply steam the spinach until wilted). Drain the spinach in a colander, pressing down with a spoon to get as much water out as possible (once the spinach cooled, I even squeezed the it with my hands). Place spinach in a large bowl and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over low heat and sauté the onion for 5 minutes. Add garlic cloves and sauté for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms to the spinach along with the feta, lemon juice, pimentos, parsley, pepper flakes, garlic powder, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix altogether.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and flour. Pour the flour mixture on top of the spinach mixture and mix all together. Pour in pie pan and place in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

African Peanut Butter Stew

Growing up, I absolutely hated the taste of peanut butter. Crazy right? I blame school lunches for this. You see, my parents would not allow me to buy lunch from school (and with good reason). Instead, I had to bring a peanut butter sandwich everyday. Now, in the mind of an elementary student, bringing lunch from home was considered “uncool,” especially when it was the same thing day after day. The fact that the peanut butter stuck to the roof of my mouth did not help either. Eventually, I just refused to eat sandwiches. This started a brutal war with the class lunch aid who would watch over me and threaten to send me to the nurse if I did’t eat. In retaliation, I used to stick the sandwich in my friend’s empty potato chip bag and have her throw it away for me. I even looked up in the constitution if I had “the right” to not eat a sandwich.

Now, I very much regret the fact that I threw away those sandwiches because I hate it when people throw out their food. Unfortunately, my bad experience with peanut butter made me avoid it for years. The good part of this story is that I tried it again a few years ago and now I love it! I believe my tastes buds are now trying to make up for lost time 🙂

In the summer, I made Zimbabwe Greens. I was so in love with the idea of adding peanut butter to a main dish, that I tried it again in this stew:

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African Peanut Butter Stew

Ingredients: 

1 cup arborio rice

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 tbsp jalapeño pepper, chopped

1 tbsp pickled ginger

2 tbsp curry powder

2 cups chicken broth

1 28oz can whole plum tomatoes with juice

1/2 cup organic peanut butter

1 sweet potato, cooked

salt and pepper, to taste

Garnish: cilantro

Directions:

Cook rice according to box instructions. Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat olive oil. Add in onions and garlic cloves and sauté for 10 minutes. Add and mix in bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, ginger, and curry powder. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add in broth, tomatoes, and peanut butter. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and crush the tomatoes slightly with the side of a spoon. Cook for 10 minutes. Add in sweet potato and cook for 5 more minutes. Add in salt and pepper. In separate bowls, pour in rice and ladle peanut butter mixture on top. Top with cilantro.

Butternut Squash Soup

We are now officially in the “dead of winter.” Oh dear. All of a sudden, it’s no longer a “winter wonderland.” I have to say, after the holidays, I always want to just fast forward the next few months until we reach summer.

I am so over this cold weather already.

Until then, I think I’ll just try to make the best of winter and look on the bright side of things- one of those being butternut squash. There’s so many recipes you can make with this baby. My favorites are those that require minimal work *cough, cough* butternut squash soup 🙂

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Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized butternut squash

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped (or 2 leeks)

1/8 tsp dried ginger

1/8 tsp cayenne

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

Garnish: cilantro and/or chives

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and cover a shallow baking sheet with foil. (Note: use a pan with sides- the squash releases liquid while roasting). Cut the butternut squash once horizontally and once vertically, so it’s cut into quarters. Remove its seeds and “guts”. Place the quarters face-down and peel-side up on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 1 hour.

Heat olive oil in a pot over low heat. Add onion, ginger and cayenne and sauté for 10 minutes. Add and stir in butternut squash, chicken broth, and water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Puree with hand immersion blender. Add salt and pepper and top with cilantro and/or chives.

Turkey Tortilla Soup

Got leftover turkey (or even chicken)? Here’s a recipe to use it all up! What I like about this is that all you have to do is throw all the ingredients in a pot and turn on the heat. Then, you can just set up little stations of cheese, tortilla crumbs, and avocados so everyone can pick and choose for themselves. A nice simple dinner for a week night 🙂

ImageTurkey Tortilla Soup 

Ingredients: 

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups cooked organic turkey (or chicken), shredded

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup frozen corn

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

3 cups chicken broth

1 28oz can tomatoes with juice

salt and pepper to taste

Toppings:

grated cheese

tortilla chip crumbs

avocado, cut into slices

Directions:

Heat oil in pot. Sauté onion and garlic cloves for 7 minutes. Add in turkey, black beans, corn, cumin, chili powder, chicken broth, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 25 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into individual bowls and top with cheese, crumbs, and slices of avocado.