Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

With one day until Halloween and a bag of not-so-delicious apples on the counter I decided to pull out my juicer and make some cider.  10 cored apples later I had 3.5 cups of cider...and a LOT of left over pulp.

Since I had cored the apples the pulp didn't have any seeds in it so I decided to make something out of it.

But what to make???

When in doubt just start tossing stuff in a bowl. lol!

I didn't measure, I just added and stirred until it all looked good.

Into the bowl went...
Apple Pulp
Cinnamon and Sucanat
...and Sprinkles (hey, that's what happen's when your helper is 4!)

Then I baked it at 325° for about two hours.

Warm and topped with some Ricemellow and a few more sprinkles...

Drool worthy!

So there you have it...
If you juice and have left over pulp go ahead and see what you can mix in and create!

Now, dinner had a bit more direction. :)

I've been seeing stuffed bell peppers all over but since the Hubs most likely wouldn't try it and Kai would never finish one, I hate the idea of wasting a full bell on each of their meals.  Then I saw this little bag of peppers and a light bulb went off!  They're perfect!! :)


First I made the stuffing
1/4 C Quinoa
1/2 C Water
1/2 Avocado
Spoonful Tomato Paste
1/4 C Mozzarella Cheese

Put the Quinoa in the water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Let simmer until the Quinoa has absorbed all the water and is fully cooked (they'll have little rings).
In a bowl mash the Quinoa, Avocado, Tomato Paste and Cheese together.
I admit, It doesn't look like much...yet
While the Quinoa's cooking cut the tops off your peppers and then cut little eyes & mouths into the them...Or if it's not the day before Halloween, just leave the faces off. :P

Stuff your peppers and they're ready to eat.  I filled 6 and had about half the stuffing left over so Frodo and I  wound up eating the left overs out of a bowl. :)

On the side we had some mashed Potatoes/Cauliflower Ghosts...
I nuked a potato and about 1/2 a bag of frozen cauliflower until they were soft.  Added some Almond milk and used my immersion blender to smooth it all out.  Then I made little piles of them and added Pomegranate eyes. :)

I loved the meal.  Kai ate one of each (my rule is that if she doesn't at least try everything then she doesn't get dessert) and she was done.  But she did have fun playing with it all. lol!

Dessert was crust-less pumpkin pie. :D

This Kai did like.  In fact, if the Hubs had been any later (he's still helping his parents move) Kai may have stolen his.  Fortunately he got home just as we had finished up so his little bowl was safe.

To make it I made a half batch of this recipe then poured it into 3 ramekin bowls instead of a pie shell.

If I hadn't used the last of my Maple Syrup I would have probably started soaking more cashews tonight!  It was THAT good.

Baked up and ready to hit the fridge!
Yep, We definitely saved the best for last... :D

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ghost Shake, Severed Finger & Witch's Broom

Yesterday's dinner continued the spooky meal time fun...

But first I wanted to share with you our lunch. :)

It was REALLY good.

I basically made fried rice, sans the rice!

In it was sauteed onion, beet greens, red & yellow pepper, mushrooms,
tomato & scrambled eggs.

That's it - no extra sauces or seasoning.

For Kai, who's not always a fan of everything mixed together
I put the individual elements on her plate...
Scrambled eggs, a pile of peppers & mushrooms, a small pile of sauteed greens,
some humus and tomatoes.


After lunch the two of us went to the Eiteljorg Museum (Museum dedicated to the appreciation and understanding of American Indian and western art and the many cultures of North America) for their Dia de los Muertos.  I'd seen it on Facebook and thought it would be something fun and different to do while the Hubs was out helping his folks move (we've already been to the Children's Museum Haunted House and Boo at the Zoo).  Well, the only thing I found was a small alter behind their main stairwell where you could write the names of people who have passed.  There was no exhibit or activity.  It's entirely possible we'd missed it or didn't go in the correct room but I was a littl
e disappointed. Fortunately there's always the Kid Friendly area so we checked out some Old West homes, rode some "horses" and took a trip on a stage coach.  We also spent some time upstairs where the tepees are and we were able to build a few small model ones. :)

By the time we got home Kai was in the mood for some "ice cream"...So I made up a Haunted banana-soft-serve-milkshake.   Into the blender went a frozen banana, cinnamon, a drizzle of Maple Syrup & Vanilla, and Almond milk to thin it out.  Then I decorated a glass with some chocolate syrup and poured the shake in. 

Easy as that I had a healthy halloweeny treat. :)

Don't be scared of me!

Finally it was dinner time!  For the main meal I boiled some broccoli and edemame in 1/2 C water then added 1/4C cous-cous.  I let that simmer until it was done.

While it was cooking I made us up some sides to go with it....

Start with 1/2 stick of string cheese with a nail bed and knuckle grooves cut out.  Then I used a pumpkin seed for the finger nail.  (I usually see these with bell pepper nails in green or red but I didn't want to cut up a pepper just for a few slivers.  I'm lazy, lol!)

To add a little congealed blood to the end of the severed finger I added a spoonful of pomegranate seeds (Pomegranates are 5 for $5 at Meijers right now...So we've been enjoying them a lot) 

Also on the plate...

Cut a pretzel rod in half.  Put a big glob of humus on the broken end (I originally saw these using cream cheese but I didn't have any and humus is my go-to "food glue").  Add shredded carrots to the humus and set, standing up, on your plate.

The Cous-Cous was then topped with some Nutritional Yeast and left over shredded carrots...


As a final, late night snack I made up a 


Into the bowl went...
Plain Popcorn sprinkled with Nutritional Yeast (yes, Kai and I both LOVE the stuff so I add it to everything, lol!)
Apple Chips (I made using our dehydrator but you can also use an oven set at it's lowest temperature)

Only one more day until Halloween.  I don't know what I'm going to do...
I can't go back to boring old plated meals! :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Apple Bites & Cockroaches

Is anything more appealing on a plate then some Apple Bites & Cockroaches???

I definitely didn't invent these Apple Bites, but who ever did is genius!

I've seen different ways to create the Apple Bites and some of them are really complex.

This isn't.  It didn't involve any fancy cutting or anything. :)

Use an Apple Slicer/Corer to quickly get 10 slices of apple which will make 5 bites.
If your bites are going to sit out for a while then you'll want to coat them with some lemon juice or sprite so that they don't brown.
Using your favorite seed (I used Sunflower here but I've also used pumpkin seeds) stick teeth into the apple flesh along the fat/skin side.
Now stick 2 of the apple slices together by putting a dab of Almond Butter (or peanut butter, or Humus, which is what I used because Kai HATES nutbutters) along the skinny/core side of one slice and top with another.
And your done!

If you thing Apple Bites are easy wait until you try these.
Take a pitted Date and stick 2 small seeds in for eyes on the top.
Done! :P

Now have some fun with your food...

After all, if you're not playing with your food then you're obviously not doing it right!

Did you  mistake me for Angelina Jolie??

I Vant To Drink Your Blood!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Seeds... The Good & The Bad

Yesterday we finally got around to doing some carving...

What do I want this to look like???

After setting the small pumpkin in front of Kai and the large one in front of me I was told that I was supposed to have the small one and Kai was supposed to have the BIG one.  Silly me!  So we promptly switched places and got down to business.

Using a crayon Kai sketched the shapes she wanted me to cut out.
Then I did all the cutting...I let Kai try to use her safety scissors but it turns out there less effective on pumpkin than on paper.
After cutting the top off it was time to dig out the seeds.  I LOVE this part.  It's so gooey.  I couldn't wait to see Kai's reaction to it this year.  

Her thoughts, "This is messy, I'll let you do it."

Yeah, she'll "let" me clean out her pumpkin....
Because it's messy...
This is the same girl who will coat herself in paint...
But OK, Sure, she doesn't want to get messy.
What ever!

Fortunately, I like to pull out the squishy, slimy pumpkin guts. :D

After that, and with a little guidance from Kai, I carved our pumpkins.

Then we dropped a glow stick into the big guy.

Can you tell it was Fire Safety Week at school?


Now to cook up those seeds...


This time, instead of roasting them in the oven, which takes FOREVER (ok, maybe just a few hours), I cooked them up on the stove top.  Same day.  No drying required.

Into a hot skillet I put a spoonful of Coconut Oil, the pumpkin seeds, Tamari Sauce (soy sauce) and a few shakes of Liquid Smoke.  Then I let them cook for about 20 minutes, stirring  periodically, until they're all dried out and golden brown.

Starting out...

Just about done...

Ready to eat!

These were the Hub's favorite so far. :D


I also tried to make up a small batch in my popcorn maker...

The hubs wanted spice so I thought to cook them with Franks Hot Sauce and a dash of Liquid Smoke.  I figured all you're really doing is heating the water out of the seeds so the popcorn maker should work perfectly.  PLUS it has that little arm that's constantly stirring so I could set it and go.

Wanna' know what happens when you heat Franks Hot Sauce with wet seeds in a popcorn maker?

You create a pepper-spray like atmosphere!

It was so awful!  We opened all the windows and retreated to the living room to watch the newest X-Men movie while the house aired out a bit. 

Seriously, My throat was burning, my eyes were watering and neither of us could stop coughing.

It was Bad.

Very Bad.

Don't do it!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Green Monster

If you read healthy eating blogs you've probably heard of the Green Monster.  I don't know if there's really a definition for a Green Monster, other than it's basically a green smoothie...Green because of leafy ingredients, not food coloring. :)

So what sounds more Halloweeny than a Green Monster?

Into my Green Monster went:
1/2 Frozen banana
BIG handful of spinach
Frozen Nectarine
Chia Seeds
Almond Milk

But what really made this guy a Monster was the face...

I just used a toothpick and some "Chocolate Syrup" to draw a face inside the glass before pouring the smoothie in.  If you have chocolate syrup in your house then more power to you.  I don't.  I had to make my own...

1 t Carob Powder (or cocoa powder)
Agave Nectar (or honey)

Add a TINY amount of the agave nectar to the carob powder & stir (I used a toothpick to stir it).  Keep adding the agave nectar until you have a syrup consistency.  That's it.  Super quick & easy - and you know exactly what's in it. :)

Other than that there was a LOT of snacking going on  yesterday.  Kai's school had trick-or-treating, then I took her to the Children's Museum Haunted House (which also had some trick-or-treating).  Finally the day ended with a trip for her 4 year Wellness Check-up, including a Flu Shot, which also included a treat. We were seriously treated out.  

AND I learned that Kai does not like Tootsie Rolls.  I wish I had a recorder going as she opened the tootsie rolls she had gotten.  She tried the first one and didn't like it.  Then she opened another one, looked at it, and said, "Ugh, Not chocolate AGAIN!".  She handed me that piece and opened a third.  "Seriously, chocolate AGAIN, what's going on here?!?"  I was cracking up.  To be fair the rolls were in assorted wrappings so even I thought they were the flavored tootsie rolls.  In the end she found a sucker and was happy with that and I had a pile of opened candy that will never be eaten. :)

Dinner was left over soup.  And then I made up something more for me...

A quick soup of...
Sauteed Onion
Veggie Broth
LOTS of Kale
Handful of Lentils
Handful of Quinoa

I let it all simmer until the lentils were done and enjoyed 2 full bowls of it!  YUM!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ghostly Meringue

Looks good right?!?

Yeah, it's hard to beat a Ghostly Meringue Cookie!  We've been enjoying them quite a bit.

In fact, we'll probably run out long before Halloween and will have to make more!

To make these I basically doubled up the boobie cookies and left out the beets...
2 egg whites at room temperature
1/3 t cream of tartar
12 pkts Truvia

Beat the egg whites & cream of tartar until fluffy.
Add Truvia.
Pipe into swirly peaks.
Bake for an hour at 200°, leave in oven for another hour.

I used pomegranate for the eyes & mouth...other ideas would be raisins, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, etc...

Other treats we enjoyed yesterday included a big bowl of pumpkin topped with almond milk, chia seeds, cinnamon, cinnamon whipped honey, and pomegranate.

mmmmm, pumpkin

And some more Fancy Acorn Squash....

mmmmm, squash

But this time I stirred some chopped spinach into the squash before putting it back in the shell. :D

Dinner was "Grandma's Soup", as in the Hub's Grandma's soup.  I didn't take any photos but it was delicious.  It basically involves simmering a piece of meat and a bunch of whole veggies in water all day then adding noodles.  Very simple and always a hit.  Even Kai likes it!  Plus it makes enough for left overs, which means I don't have to make dinner tonight. :D

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Is it Halloween Yet?

Are you feeling Halloween yet?  We are.

The decorations are slowly going up.
The movies have started.
And our eats are getting spooky....

A quick way to give your cereal a little eek factor...

Instead of slicing up half a banana on to Kai's cereal I stuck it in whole, and added some cereal for the eyes and mouth. lol!!

As for lunch, Kai's still on a sandwich kick.  To make it a little more fun I used a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter to get the right shape then cut out 2 eyes and a mouth from 2 of the 4 slices.

To make the grilled cheese I toasted all 4 pieces of bread with shredded cheese on the pieces without the face.

Then, since I can't leave good enough alone, I added some avocado and tomato paste (I'm out of sun dried tomatoes, sad face)

I added the toasted face pieces and ta-da....

A Perfect Halloween Sandwich!

My head is buzzing with other ideas.  I LOVE this holiday. :D

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fancy Acorn Squash

Ok - I wrote this post last night and scheduled it to post today.  At some point between then and now it disappeared!!  Spooky....

Fortunately I'm dedicated and willing to write this post up twice.  You should really be grateful because this is a very good dish.  It's Fancy (!!) and Delicious (!!) and so worth the few minutes it takes to pull it all together.

It all started when I was in Target yesterday and the squash was FINALLY on sale!!  Yep, we're weeks into fall and just now is the squash dropping from it's normal price.  I don't know how much longer I could have waited. :)

So I came home with an Acorn Squash to make up for dinner.  But I wanted something more.  I wanted something...Fancy!!

What makes this dish so fancy you ask?  Well I'll tell you.

First, the shell/skin of the squash is used for your bowl.  Hello, Fancy!!
Second, you toast some marshmallow on top.  Double Fancy!!

Even the Hubs thought it was fancy.

In fact here is our conversation from when I pulled them out of the oven...

Me:  "Ooh, don't these look good?"
Hubs:  "No, it looks like squash with marshmallows on top" (he doesn't care for squash)
Me: "Well, don't you at least think it looks fancy?"
Hubs: "Definitely, it's VERY fancy"  (with a tone that implied he's still not going to try it, lol!)

And in case you're wondering, they tasted just as good and they looked!

Picture does not do them justice!

1 Acorn Squash
2 T Ground Flax Seed
1 T Organic Sucanat (brown sugar would be a substitute)
1/4 C Pecans
2 T Ricemellow (I know, I know, I LOVE this stuff - you can substitute mini marshmallows)

Cut acorn in half and scoop out seeds.  Place cut side down in a microwaveable bowl, add a little water, cover with plastic wrap and heat for 6 minutes.  Flip acorn squash so that the cut side is up and heat for another 6 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes to cool a bit.
Carefully scoop the flesh into a bowl, leaving the skin/shell intact.  Add the flax seed and mix the flesh & flax together.
Scoop back into the squash shells.
Sprinkle with cinnamon, sucanat, and pecans. 
Spread the Ricemellow on top.
Place under your broiler on Low until the ricemellow is toasted.

That's it.  It's super easy and quick and looks looks so, well, Fancy! :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Ups

It's been a weekend of ups and downs.  Rather than focusing on the downs I'm going to share with you a lot of the ups!!  Unfortunately there hasn't been a lot of home cooking though...

There's been breakfasts...
Nutritional Yeast & Jelly Sandwiches
Bowl of Pumpkin with Almond milk, Pecans, raisins, Cinnamon & Whipped Honey

There has been soups...
Sauteed veggies, veggie broth & rice

There has been dining out...
Including Yats (one of my newest favorite places to eat!!), O'Charlies (not the easiest place for a non-meat eater to dine), and my mom's home cooking (Hello...3 Berry Salad!!)

And there has been yogurt...
Pumpkin yogurt with mango, blackberries, blue berries, strawberries, etc...

Not to mention that this weekend was Homecoming...


Before the game we walked around campus.  Let me just say, I do not miss drunk college students. lol!!  But I do love seeing the creative Breakfast Club costumes. :)  For breakfast/brunch we ducked into Q'doba and got some Breakfast Burritos...I had a Cheese & Egg which also had potatoes and pico on it.  Next time I'd get it with out the Queso but all in all, it was delicious!

After watching the band play in the Engineering Mall and collecting some goodies for Kai, we were off to the actual game.  I think the band formations are so cool...
There's even smoke!

See on the screen - they made the Boilermaker Special (train)
Around half-time I enjoyed a hot cocoa and soft pretzel...and continued to watch Purdue dominate! :D

Final score: 21-14.  A Boilermaker Win!! :D

And after the game, where would we go but Arni's?  A Lafayette Classic.

A small sampling of my family...we bleed black & gold!
After pizza, Arni Jr. Salads, Potato Cakes and good company all I can say is...

Boiler UP!! :D