co-op awesomeness {curried cauliflower and fruit leathers}

some part of me has always wanted to participate in a co-op.  jake might say it's the hippy part of me.

check out the last two shares.  seriously, why isn't everyone doing this!?

it's like christmas every saturday morning except for you have to stand in (what has been) a really long line and melt before you get your goodies.

the co-op keeps me on my toes.  trying to find new recipes and try new things.  so far, so good.  a few days ago we enjoyed some serious delicious roasted curried cauliflower.  

the photo i took was something horrible so i've borrowed the photo from the original source and linked back.  i think that's the legal way to do this?

recipe source summertime tomato

roasted curried cauliflower

1 large cauliflower (approx. 2 lbs)
curry powder
olive oil
kosher or sea salt

"pre-heat oven to 500 degrees. break cauliflower into medium-small florets and place into large bowl or baking pan.  be sure the pieces are as evenly sized as possible, or they will cook unevenly.  the smaller you make the pieces, the quicker they will cook and the more caramelized they will become, which i consider a good thing.

drizzle cauliflower pieces generously with olive oil and season well with salt and curry powder.  distribute evenly in a single layer at the bottom of a baking pan.  if necessary, use a second baking pan to be sure the pieces aren't too crowded.

cover the pans with foil and place into the oven.  roast, covered for 10-15 minutes.  the cauliflower should be slightly soft and start looking translucent.  if not, replace foil and cook for another 5 minutes.

when the cauliflower has finished steaming, remove the foil and toss with tongs.  continue to roast, stirring every 8-10 minutes until the tips of the cauliflower begin to brown and become crisp as pictured. approximately 30-35 minutes.

adjust salt to taste (you will probably need another sprinkle) and serve."

what else?

we had some serious pears and peaches so i made fruit leathers.  fun!  the kids ate them up before i even had time to prepare them for storing.  we tried strawberry with pear and also peach.  i liked the peach best but probably because the strawberry/pear ones had the seeds in them (note to self, get the seeds out of the puree before drying).

fruit leathers

4 cups chopped fruit (peeled, pitted, whatever you want)
squeeze of lemon juice
2-3 tbsp agave nectar

heat everything over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes.  run through a food processor or blender then spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  cook at 150 degrees for several hours until the fruit is no longer sticky when touched.  pull out, let cool, slice and serve. yum!  (p.s. my oven doesn't go down to 150 so i was forced to keep it at 170 with the door cracked open using a heating pad.  mine turned out pretty well this way although the edges were a little hard compared to the middle.  i think 150 would do the trick.  oh well).

how about that?!

needless to say, i'm totally excited for saturday's share!  for more info, visit bountifulbaskets.org. (p.s. this is not limited to utah).


all things in moderation ~ cold brewed coffee

i'm a lover of the brew and i feel a serious obligation to share my new iced coffee method with my likeminded friends.  i know not all of my silent readers will pass this one on.

you see, quite a few of my favorite people will argue with me about the health benefits of coffee and while i respect their reasoning for passing on the deliciousness, i can't hear them when they tell me it's "bad for you."   okay, a lot of any one thing is probably bad for you so when i say this, i say it cautiously:

in moderation, coffee offers many, many health benefits (even the caffeinated version).  google it.  benefits such as, lowered risk of diabetes, parkinson's disease, colon cancer, even cavities.  headache?  grab a cup.  mood booster?  yep.  "overall, research shows that coffee is far more helpful than it is harmful."

"drink coffee.  do stupid things faster with more energy."

do i care if you drink it?  no, not all.  do i care why you don't drink it?  no.  do you care if i care? no.  do you care if i drink it?  you shouldn't.

do you drink it?  yes?

then, .... you MUST try this.  especially if you're spending money on cold coffee every day like i used to (you know who you are).

cold brewed coffee
(cold brew doesn't mean brew it with cold water.  no, it means let it sit, brewing for hours, even days to get the best tasting, non-bitter, super duper way strong awesomely delicious coffee for your ice to party with)

off my box now.

here's what you need:

1/2 cup coarsely ground coffee 
(i buy beans and brew supreme-o blend by the bag)
1 1/5 cups water

combine by stirring
let sit for at least 24 hours

now, i bought this awesome jar from ikea.  it was like $3.  it's large enough for me to use 2 cups of coffee and 6 cups of water.  this yields about 30 oz of prepared coffee when all is said and done which doesn't seem like a lot but, like i said before, it's really strong so 1/2 cup goes a long way.  i figured i can get at least 6 servings out of one jar.  cha-ching!

back to brewing.

once it's done brewing, you need to get the grinds out.  obviously.  this part is easiest if you invest in a little cheese cloth.  first, i poured the coffee from the jar through a sieve lined with cheese cloth into a bowl.   then, i poured the coffee from the bowl into a funnel (also stuffed with cheesecloth) attached to an awesome water bottle.  oh, the irony.

this funnel, it was like $1 at ikea.  thank you ikea.

see why the cheese cloth is pertinent? you really don't want to drink coffee grinds.

the fun part is putting it all together.  this is what i use.  a little bit of vanilla soy milk poured over the ice, coffee on top and then a tbsp (or 2) of vanilla syrup.  this happens to be sugar free because it is.  

i've been collecting cups and straws from various coffee shops so my cold brewed coffee experience is as close to the "real thing" as possible.  i don't like to feel deprived.  

seriously, i want one now.  too bad it's bed time.

now, get your coffee on!

and, one more thing you should know (if you don't already), is that coffee really gets "things" moving (if you know what i mean).  i know a lot of nice ladies that drink coffee for this reason alone.  myself included although it's apparent that this is not the only reason.  just a nice perk to the party in my mouth.

over and out.

sweet & sour {turkey} meatballs

first, check out this recipe for strawberry rhubarb buttermilk pudding cake.  i didn't post it here because, well, .... obviously.

okay, back on topic. growing up my mom made yummy swedish meatballs with ground beef and la choy sweet and sour sauce.  so delicious served over steaming hot rice!  i'm guessing the recipe came from the lion house cookbook and rather than making sweet & sour sauce from scratch as the recipe suggests, my mom always used the bottled stuff that i personally really love (especially with deep fried chicken fingers, shhh).  i stuck with her alternative too but changed a few other things to try a create a slightly healthier version.  maybe it worked, maybe it didn't.  either way, i don't feel at all bad as i watch my kids gobble these up and ask for seconds.

go ahead and give this recipe a try.  i think you'll really enjoy it. and if you're not excited about bottled sauce, feel free to make your very own sweet and sour sauce beforehand.  otherwise, for a quick and delicious weeknight meal that your family will love, give this version a try.

sweet & sour {turkey} meatballs
1.5 lb ground turkey
1/4 cup skim milk
3/4 cup oats
1 egg & 1 egg white, beaten
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 (10 oz) bottle la choy sweet & sour sauce

mix it all together!  i use my hands because it's so much easier.  do what you will!
form meatballs.  this will make 12 large meatballs to fit into a 9" square baking dish or 16 smaller meatballs to fit into normal casserole dish (what is that size, 9x13? you know what i'm talking about).  

bake uncovered in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
serve with warm rice and veggie on the side.

{i realized after i'd already started eating that i didn't take a photo so excuse the quality}

serves approximately 6

Nutrition Facts
sweet & sour meatballs
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat8.6g
      Saturated Fat1.8g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber1.4g
Vitamin A 0%Vitamin C 2%
Calcium    2%Iron 13%


grilled rosemary chicken & peaches with baked salt & vinegar chips

hands down, rosemary is my new favorite herb.  party in your mouth!!

remember the co-op?  yeah, well, we got ourselves some peaches from the co-op and i'm not crazy about the fuzz on peaches so they're kind of tough for me to choke down.  the husband has a similar aversion so i decided to try something new and grill the peaches instead of beg the members of this family to close their eyes, swallow and then take a drink (that's the drill around here for eating something you don't love).

grilled peaches are pretty good.  grilled peaches with marmalade sauce are even better and what would top them is if you were daring enough to add a scoop of vanilla bean to go right along side them.  mouth watering.

now, along with the peaches i had some potatoes.  i had recently come across a recipe for homemade baked salt and vinegar chips.  we all love salt and vinegar chips so i thought i'd give this one a whirl too. they were good although i think they could have easily been baked for another 10-15 minutes.  they were more like salt and vinegar flavored potato slices.   they reminded me of the potatoes my mom used to make for us when we were growing up.  she'd buy canned potatoes, sliced for convenience and fry them up nice and chewy in a skillet full of butter.  i remember being really concerned that i wouldn't get seconds, they were a hot item. 

so anyway, i didn't use canned potatoes or fry them in butter but still, these were just as good (imo which doesn't count for much as i've decided my version of good is not the same as most everyone elses).  these potatoes were sliced from fresh and boiled in vinegar.  straight vinegar!  then i baked them for awhile in a hot oven after sprinkling them generously with salt and pepper and tossing them with a little olive oil.  super yum.  

the chicken was also delish.  marinated for a bit in a nice little combination of oil, sugar, herbs and spices then grilled to perfection.  

go make dinner.

grilled rosemary chicken & peaches
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp olive oil
8 peach halves

mix spices and oil together in a small bowl.  pour over chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (the longer, the better).  heat grill to med-low heat and grill chicken for 5 minutes per side turning only once.  in the last minute of grilling the chicken, brush the peach halves with the marmalade sauce and grill for ~ 1 minute per side.  

marmalade sauce
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
**this recipe could have easily been cut in 1/2

warm all ingredients in saucepan, mixing well.

baked salt & vinegar chips (i doubled this recipe for the 5 of us)
4 cups of white vinegar
4-5 medium potatoes, sliced into 1/4 rounds (i will slice thinner next time)
1 - 1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
dash of freshly ground pepper
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

wash and slice up the potatoes into rounds.  place in a medium sized pot.  pour vinegar into pot until all of the potatoes are covered.  bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium for 5 minutes.  remove from heat and let sit in the pot for 30 minutes.  after 30 minutes, take a greased baking sheet and lay the potato rounds flat on the sheet.  drizzle oil and mix with hands.   sprinkle with salt and pepper on top.  bake for 30-35 minutes at 425 degrees.  after 30 minutes, flip carefully and sprinkle more salt.  bake for another 10-15 minutes watching carefully not to burn the potatoes.  

whole wheat zucchini bread

recently i made some goodies for some special people. one of those goodies was a wonderful zucchini bread i'd found via smitten kitchen (favorite it).  i anticipated this bread to taste much like the bread my mom makes because it has all the right ingredients for delicious results.  i was right.  i stole a slice from the loaf i'd delivered to my grandma a few weeks back when i visited her for lunch.  it was so good, i was glad i was leaving it behind on her kitchen counter.

the second loaf went to a deserving family and apparently, they enjoyed the taste as much as i had.   when i was asked for the recipe, i could tell it was assumed that the bread they'd eaten was a nutritious loaf of zucchini bread.  delicious? yes.  nutritious? not so much.  woops.

so i set out to recreate the bread with some better-for-you ingredients and i've just tasted my first slice.  SCORE!

seriously.  seriously, this recipe came straight out of my head, i amazed myself.  i've never done that before; just throw ingredients in a bowl and hope for the best.  it worked.  hooray!

whole wheat zucchini bread
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp each of (ground) nutmeg, cloves & allspice
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp light agave
3 large eggs
3 cups zucchini, grated
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 oz bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped (optional).

pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  spray two 8x4 loafs pans with non-stick spray and lightly flour.  set aside.

grate the zucchini and squeeze out excess moisture with a few paper towels.  fluff with a fork.

in a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and spices.

in a separate bowl, combine brown sugar, oil and agave.  mix until well blended.  add eggs, one at a time, blending well after each egg.  on the lowest speed setting, add zucchini and vanilla until just combined.

slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  don't over mix.

gently fold the chocolate into the batter.

pour batter evenly into prepared pans.  smooth out tops.  bake for 40-45 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.  do not over bake.  cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing loaves from pans to finish cooling on a rack (don't leave the loaves in the pans for longer than 10 minutes).

eat it.

makes 2 loaves with approximately 12-13 slices per loaf.

Nutrition Facts
whole wheat zucchini bread
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat3.7g
      Saturated Fat0.4g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber1.6g
Vitamin A 1%Vitamin C 4%
Calcium    1%Iron 3%


i canned ~ canned salsa


we came home with a lot of anaheim peppers from the co-op.  the co-op.  i just like saying that.  the co-op. 

what do you do with a lot of anaheim peppers?  you make salsa. 

so, i did.

i invited my neighbor tryna over to assist me.  she's a newly accomplished canner (is that a word?).  she canned some delicious (like FOR REALS delicious) apricot jam that i love so much i've found myself standing at the counter, dipping my cracker straight into the jar.  i insist she assure me that it is sugar free.  

so anyway,  i said to tryna, do you want to can salsa?  and tryna said, yes. 

she provided the jars and the know how while i provided the peppers and 15 pounds of tomatoes.  oh, and the recipe, i found the recipe here.  it's a keeper.  promise.  

we made a few changes.  first, we only used about 2/3 of the recommended peppers and jalapeno.  the bite is just right (in our humble opinions) and, we ran the tomatoes through the processor for more of a restaurant style salsa rather than a chunkier version.  

this recipe says it makes approximately 13 pints.  we only ended up with 7.75 pints altogether so .... i don't know if we did something wrong or, if the recipe source sucks horribly at arithmetic.

canned salsa (copied and pasted directly from the source good life eats)
  • Kerr pint canning jars - sterilized in the dishwasher
  • Lids - thin, flat, metal lids with gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar. You need new lids each time.
  • 15 lbs tomatoes - I used a mixture of on-the-vine and Roma for texture variation
  • 7 Anaheim chilies - seeded
  • 4 jalapenos - seeded
  • 3 c chopped onion
  • 1/2 c fresh cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbs oregano - I used fresh from my herb garden
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbs ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 c 5% apple cider vinegar
  • 2 - 6 oz. cans tomato paste
Advance prep-work: make sure the jars have been sterilized in the dishwasher. Boil the lids gently for 3 minutes.
The first step is the most time intensive - removing the skins and seeds. I think it is best to have 2 people working in tandem with one removing the skins and another removing the seeds if you are able. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put tomatoes a few at a time into boiling water (30-45 seconds), then plunge in ice water. This makes the skins very easy to remove.

After removing the skins, cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds and excess water. Squeeze each tomato and use your finger or a spoon to scoop and shake out most of the seeds. It doesn't need to be perfect. Put the peeled and de-seeded tomatoes into a colander as you work. Next, chop them into 1/2 inch pieces and set aside in a large pot.

Using a food processor, process the onions, Anaheim chilies, and jalapeno peppers to about 1/8 of an inch. Process them separately so that you can add a little of the chilies and peppers at a time until you reach your desired heat.

Bring the tomatoes to a simmer and add the onions and seasonings. Start off adding half of the chilies and peppers. Bring to a gentle simmer. Taste it as it simmers to see if you would like additional seasonings or peppers. If you like a thicker salsa, you can add 4 Tbs of cornstarch to the vinegar mixture before adding. Add the vinegar, and cornstarch if using. Add the tomato paste. Simmer 5 minutes.

While you are filling the jars with salsa, bring a large pot of water to a boil to can the salsa. Fill the jars to within ¼-inch of the top, cover with the lid and hand-tighten the ring around them. Be sure the top of the jar and underside of the ring are clean to get a good seal. Put them in the canner and keep them covered with at least 1 inch of constant boiling water. Process the jars in a boiling-water bath for 15 minutes for 8 oz and pints. You will need to adjust the time if your altitude is different than sea level - it will tell you on the packaging for the lids how many minutes to add depending on your altitude.

Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed. Just press in the center with your finger. If it pops up and down, it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. If they have successfully sealed you can store the salsa in your pantry until you're ready to eat it.


cooking with plantains ~ jamaican style!

:: grilled chicken and plantains ::

this past saturday morning was perfect.  my version of the perfect saturday morning.  the kids slept at grandma's on friday night (yes, you heard me, this perfect saturday morning did not involve the children) so husband and i woke up bright and early together and went for a run.  i loved that he joined me and i loved that we didn't have to rush back to relieve a babysitter.  

after our nice little run we went together to wait in line for our first basket of fruits and veggies from the co-op.  he was so patient while watching me drool over the baskets i saw people carrying away.  i have to say, i was super disappointed to miss the cut off time last night for ordering this weeks produce.  unfortunately, i had to deal with a toddler in time out after he bit his brother in the back during a fit of glee.  

anyway, back to my perfect morning.  once we returned from our co-op pick up and a quick visit to the local farmer's market, we decided to not shower off our stink and instead, we drove up town to the real farmer's market in salt lake where we people watched and tasted yummy samples.  

my perfect morning was that simple.  a little quality time with the husband doing things i love to do (and, i think he enjoys as well) turned out to be just what i needed.  a small peaceful break from the chaos that is raising three young children.  then they came home and we jumped right back in to full swing parenting.  yeah!

the point?  plantains.  plantains are the point.  the co-op basket came with three plantains.  i'd never heard of or seen a plantain before so as soon as i had a moment, i began my research.  turns out plantains are treated as a starch vegetable and have a lower sugar content than regular dessert bananas.  because of this, plantains typically require some sort of cooking and/or processing before consumption and as i searched for recipes, i found the traditional use is for making fried chips.  FRIED.  um ... no, thanks.

so, i did what i do and tried to find a more figure friendly recipe.  what i found was a nice sounding recipe titled "grilled chicken and plantains ~ jamaican style" which became dinner last night.  


the chicken marinade was great and we also used up the fresh broccoli from our bountiful basket.  as far as the plantains?  well, the kids ate them.  cayden's reaction was especially surprising.  he gobbled his up and i thought they tasted like barbecued banana's, not bad at all but i couldn't help but think how delicious they would have been battered and fried with a nice cinnamon and sugar coating.  the husband said they were "okay" but, he prefers grilled pineapple. 

so, there you have it.  grilled plantains are edible.  not our favorite and not something i'll go out of my way to make in the future but, the chicken marinade was really good.

grilled chicken and plantains ~ jamaican style

olive oil
1/4 cup mild flavor molasses (i only had full flavor so i used 1/8 cup)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp finely chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
4 boneless chicken breast halves with skin (i used boneless, skinless)
2 semi-ripe plantains (yellow-black skin), peeled, cut on a diagonal into 1/3 to 1/2" thick slices

*recipe calls for 15 minutes of marinating.  i marinated the chicken all day and did not reserve any of the marinade for "drizzling" ... it was still really flavorful.

lightly brush the plantains with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

process the next 8 ingredients in a food processor until well blended.  pour mixture over chicken and marinate for at least 15 minutes (longer is better imo).

prepare grill over low heat by spraying with non-stick spray. grill chicken for 4-5 minutes per side and plantains for 2-3 minutes per side.


oatmeal blueberry applesauce muffins

make ahead for a perfect "on the go" breakfast.  these are good.

oatmeal blueberry applesauce muffins

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp canola oil (I used the almond oil I had on hand)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • i added about 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cases or spray with nonstick cooking spray. I simple greased and floured a muffin pan, saving the paper.
In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl combine applesauce, buttermilk, sugar, oil and egg. Make a well in dry ingredients and add applesauce mixture. Stir until just moist. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake for 16-18 minutes.
Nutrition Facts
oatmeal applesauce blueberry muffins
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat3.3g
      Saturated Fat0.3g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber2.3g
Vitamin A 0%Vitamin C 7%
Calcium    5%Iron 3%

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