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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Indian Inspired Tex-Mex Tostadas

I have yet to met a burrito, taco, or tostada that I haven't liked.  From time to time, I like to experiment with some not so traditional flavors to shake things up.

This meal comes together in just a few minutes if you plan ahead and have all the ingredients on hand.

Indian inspired Tex-Mex Tostadas are bursting with a variety of flavors: Warm Garam Masala Roasted Butternut Squash, Spicy Refried Beans, Crisp Purple Cabbage, Tangy Feta Cheese, Scallions and Cilantro for bite and it's topped with a cool Greek Yogurt Dressing.  I love the high contrast of flavors that turn a simple meal into an International Stunner.

Play around with your favorite flavors - this recipe is versatile to fit your mood!  Use the same fillings for a burrito bowl with cilantro-lime rice or as stuffing for a burrito or taco.  The possibilities are endless!








Ingredients:

Butternut Squash:

- 1 peeled, cubed, butternut squash (or do like I sometimes do, and buy it already prepared - a real timesaver!)
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Garam Masala (if you don't have this spice blend, then use Cumin, Coriander, Tandoori Masala - any of your favorite Indian Spices or just use some Taco Seasoning to amp up the flavor)



Beans:

- 1 can Vegetarian Refried Beans or Reduced Sodium Black Beans
- 1 tablespoon Taco Seasoning
- 2 tablespoons Butter (optional)
- 1/2 cup Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese (your favorite variety)


Adornments:

- Shredded Purple Cabbage (if you don't like this, then use romaine or any other crisp lettuce)
- Chopped Scallions 
- Cilantro - whole leaves or chopped 
- Feta Cheese (use what you like here.  I love the combination of the tangy feta with the spicy beans and warm notes in the butternut squash.  If you prefer a milder cheese, then go for it! Queso Fresco or even
- 8 oz Greek Yogurt + 1 Teaspoon Taco Seasoning (substitute sour cream if you don't like yogurt)



Directions:

Butternut Squash:

1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
2. Peel, remove seeds and cube butternut squash into a small dice OR open up a package of already cleaned and diced squash
3. Toss with 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil and 1 tablespoon of Garam Masala or your favorite seasonings
4. Spread onto a sheet pan and bake for 18-20 minutes - until fork tender


Beans:

1. Heat beans, butter and seasonings in a small pot until warmed through
2. Add in cheese and stir until it melts 


Putting it all together:

1. Heat your tostada, taco shells or tortillas
2. Spread on a thin layer of beans 
3. Top with a few spoons of Butternut Squash
4. Pile on the toppings!  Shredded cabbage, scallions, cilantro, feta cheese and drizzle with the yogurt sauce to finish it off.


Happy Cooking and Happy Styling!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Chocolate Mousse - Eggless

Chocolate Mousse.   My husband has a sixth sense when it comes to any recipe I make that involves chocolate.  He just happened to find his way into the kitchen and graciously offer to be a taste tester!

This Mousse doesn't contain eggs and can be adapted to be vegan - bonus!!

After watching every episode of Pioneer Woman twice, ok more like five times, it was clear that I needed to have the blender she uses - The BlendTec.

I love this blender so much and it gets used every.single.day from savory to sweet, smoothies to ice cream.  It does it all! 

This mousse comes together in less than 5 minutes and the blender does all the work.



Ingredients:

3/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream (You can substitute 2 ripe avocados to make this vegan)
2 ounces Semisweet, Bittersweet or Dark chocolate
2 tablespoons Agave Nectar
1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt


Directions:

1. Add semisweet chocolate, coconut oil, agave nectar, salt, and cocoa powder to microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 20–30 seconds.  Allow to cool to room temperature*
* This step is important so you don't deflate the whipped cream!

2. Add whipping cream to Twister jar, and place lid on jar.  Select Speed 1, and run for 10 seconds or until soft peaks form.  Add chocolate mixture, and place lid on jar.  Select Speed 1, and run for 5–10 seconds or until chocolate is incorporated.
*If you don't have a Blend Tec or Vitamix Blender- whip your heavy cream with an electric beater or a stand mixer and slowly add in the Chocolate Mixture until soft peaks form.

3. Pour into 4 ramekins, and chill for at least 1 hour.

*If you don't have a set of ramekins, use small bowls or little glasses.  

Serving Suggestion:
Top with Sweetened Whipped Cream and berries.  I used a spoon of powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla extract for extra flavor in my whipped cream.  


Happy Cooking and Happy Styling!


Original Recipe Found at: http://www.blendtec.com/recipes/decadent_chocolate_mousse

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Those little packets in the grocery store are convenient and easy, but so is making your own seasoning blend - minus the excess sodium and preservatives.

I customize our seasoning blends for the adults and bambinos in the house.

We love Mexican food and use this Taco Seasoning to spice up refried beans, black beans, soy beef crumbles, tofu, even veggies for fajitas.  You'll love the extra boost of flavor this seasoning blend adds, and you'll feel good about using it.



Ingredients:

2 tablespoons chili powder (adjust this up or down based on your tolerance.  I used Indian chili powder for a less smokey flavor)
3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons black pepper (coarse or fine - your preference)
1 - 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I left this out in bambino's version)


Easy right?  You probably have most of these ingredients on hand.

Love cumin?  Add a little more.  Looking for less spice? Omit the red pepper.  This recipe is super versatile.


Directions:

Combine spices into a bowl and give it a big stir until combined.

Store in an airtight container.  


Happy Cooking and Happy Styling!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Deliciously Stylish - Kids Edition: Zucchini Tots 2 ways

They say everything is bigger in Texas - that includes the zucchini.  Finding myself with an abundance of fresh zucchini, we had these delicious veggie tots 2 ways this week.

The first was baked in a mini muffin tin. . . perfect for a bite sized afternoon snack.

The second was formed into a cutlet. . . a more substantial kid friendly lunch or dinner.

Both were crispy, crunchy, packed with flavor and deliciously stylish.  Play around with different herbs and cheeses.  It's a great way to introduce new flavors and textures to your bambinos.  Mine loved the addition of fresh basil and Italian cheese.

Both pair well with marinara sauce or homemade ketchup.




Zucchini Tots
Zucchini Cutlets


Zucchini Tots (made in mini-muffin tin)

Ingredients:

1 cup grated zucchini
1 Organic, Free Range Egg
1/4 cup grated carrot (can substitute finely minced onion)
1/4 cup shredded cheese (mexican or italian blend, feta - choose your favorite!)
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano






Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
2. Spray mini-muffin tin with cooking spray
3. Grate Zucchini and Carrot into a bowl
4. Squeeze out excess water (I do this in a sieve or you can wring out the water using a paper towel)
5. Combine all ingredients into a larger bowl and mix well
6. Use a mini ice cream scoop or 2 spoons and fill mini-muffin cups up to the top
7. Using the back of a spoon, push down the filling so it is compact
8. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes - until the tops are golden brown
9. Optional - top with a little shredded cheese and a drizzle of olive oil prior to baking for a crispy, crunchy top

Recipe yields 12 tots


Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste


Zucchini Cutlets

Ingredients:

1 cup grated zucchini
2 Organic, Free Range Eggs
1 cup Reduced Fat Bisquick Mix
1/4 cup finely diced onion (can substitute with grated carrot)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (mexican or italian blend, feta - choose your favorite!)
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup seasoned bread crumbs to roll cutlets in
Olive Oil to drizzle on top prior to baking



The Bisquick helps these cutlets rise a bit while baking and also helps keep it's shape.  A little drizzle of olive oil helps them brown and toasts the breadcrumbs for a cutlet that is crispy on the outside and soft and flavorful on the inside.

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
2. Spray mini-muffin tin with cooking spray
3. Grate Zucchini and Carrot
4. Squeeze out excess water (I do this in a sieve or you can wring out the water using a paper towel)
5. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix well
6. Pour 1 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs into a shallow dish
7. Use a mini ice cream scoop or 2 spoons and form a ball
8. Roll each ball in bread crumbs until coated on all sides
9. Place on baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper
10. Using the back of a spoon, push down so that it flattens out a bit
11. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes - until the tops are golden brown
12. Optional - top with a drizzle of olive oil prior to baking for a crispy, crunchy top

Recipe yields 20-24 cutlets


Happy Cooking and Happy Styling!  Because kids eat with their eyes first too!

Homemade Ketchup

Making homemade ketchup is deliciously simple. I love being able to control the quality and quantity of the ingredients that are added.

There are a lot of great ketchup's out there - organic, low sugar and even flavored - but many contain additives or high fructose corn syrup.  Who needs that when it just takes a few ingredients that you probably already have at home to whip up a batch of your own.

Get your kids involved - they'll have fun helping measure the ingredients, stirring, and of course helping you taste the finished product!



Ingredients:

6 oz can Organic Tomato Paste
1/2 cup White Vinegar
1/4 cup Honey or Agave 
1/4 cup Water
1 teaspoon Sugar
3/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/8 teaspoon Garlic Powder

We all know Honey has great health benefits, but did you know that using local honey can actually help with some seasonal allergies?!  

Want to spice things up? Add a teaspoon of chipotle peppers in adobo or more if you are in a spicy mood!



Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan
2. Whisk and bring to a boil
3. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes
4. Stir every few minutes
5. Let cool to room temperature and then store in a container in the fridge



Happy Cooking and Happy Styling! 



Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Carrot and Zucchini Muffins

These muffins pack a punch with carrots, zucchini and plump raisins.  Cinnamon and Vanilla add sweetness without adding extra sugar.  Brown rice flour adds a little nuttiness.  A perfect, deliciously stylish, mini muffin the whole family will enjoy.  

Dress it up with a little homemade frosting for a special occasion!






Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour (can also use Almond Flour)

1/4 cup brown rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup Vegetable oil (I used Smart Balance)
1/4 cup Real Maple Syrup
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Organic, Free Range Egg
1/2 cup grated carrot (from 1 peeled medium sized carrot)
1/2 cup grated zucchini (from 1 small or 1/2 large zucchini)
1/2 cup raisins (regular or golden)

Frosting (optional)
1 cup whipped cream cheese
2 tablespoons honey


  

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Line 20 mini-muffin cups with paper liners

3. Mix together: flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon

4. Grate carrot and zucchini in another bowl

5. Whisk together oil, syrup, egg and vanilla into a small bowl

6. Mix together dry and wet ingredients and fold in vegetables and raisins until combined

7. Use a mini ice cream scoop or 2 small spoons to fill the muffin cups 

8. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  The tops will be golden brown

9. Let them cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!!!


Optional: Top with a dollop of tangy cream cheese frosting.  Mix whipped cream cheese and honey until smooth.

Makes 20 mini muffins



Recipe Adapted From: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/carrot-and-zucchini-mini-muffins-recipe.print.html

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Challah French Toast with Nutella, Mascarpone Cream and Berries

Buttery, Golden Delicious, Melt in your Mouth French Toast.

This breakfast treat is dressed up by using Challah bread and flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.  A whipped Nutella and Mascarpone Cream sends this dish over the top!




Ingredients: 

3 eggs
3/4 cup milk (I used a combination of milk and fat free half and half)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter
4 slices Challah Bread 

1/2 cup Mascarpone Cheese
1/4 cup Nutella

Sliced Berries

Powdered Sugar for dusting
Real Maple syrup (optional)


Directions:

1. In a large, shallow dish - whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg
2. Slice Challah into 1 inch thick slices
3. Soak bread in egg mixture for 60 seconds on each side
4. Melt butter in a pan on medium heat and cook slices for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown
5. Keep slices warm in a 250 degree oven while cooking the remaining pieces
6. Whisk together room temperature Mascarpone Cheese and Nutella
7. Slice and mix together assorted berries

Serving Suggestion:

Cut each slice of french toast in half and arrange on a plate. Add 1-2 tablespoons of Nutella on the side for dipping.  Garnish with mixed berries and a dusting of powdered sugar.  A little drizzle of maple syrup finishes off this decadent breakfast treat.

Serves: 4 (1 slice each)


A simple, yet elegant, deliciously stylish, French Toast.


Happy Cooking and Happy Styling!