Friday, March 22, 2013

Cafe' Creamy Mocha - Made My Way :-)

I used to frequent a certain coffee chain drive-thru quite a bit.  There, I admit it.  You know it's bad when you go through any drive thru and your daughter (three years old at the time) says, "getting coffee mommy?"  Thank goodness I have stopped that habit.  My wallet and my waistline are more grateful!! 

But who says you can't have yummy drinks at home?  It's much cheaper and faster when you consider it doesn't require a car and gas to get there!  Here is my new way of having a Cafe Mocha without all the preservatives, sugar and calories! 

My Way Cafe' Creamy Mocha
(Serves 1)

8-10 oz of brewed hot coffee of your choice - I like Newman's Own Organic Medium Roast
2 Tbsp of half and half organic creamer (Or use non-dairy coconut milk or almond milk)
2 Tbsp of Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips - these are allergen friendly and taste wonderful!
pinch of ground cinnamon - optional

Put all your ingredients out on the table.  Brew your coffee the way you normally do.  (I have a Keurig so I do it the lazy way~!  :-) 

While your coffee is brewing, pour your 2 Tbsp half and half cream (or non-dairy substitute) into a small bowl.  Add in just 1 Tbsp of the Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips.  Heat in the microwave for 10-20 (Mine was ready in 15 seconds.  You may need less or more time depending on your machine's heat.)

Stir your chocolate and cream/milk together until it looks like chocolate syrup.  Like this (pictured below):

Check on your brewed coffee. Is it done?  Immediately after it's done brewing and still piping hot, add in the remaining 1 Tbsp of the Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips.  Stir so the chocolate melts within your brewed coffee.  Now add in your heated creamy-chocolatey syrup you just heated.  Add in your pinch of cinnamon if you like.  Mix well with a spoon.  It will look something like this:

You can top it with some heavy whipping cream or a strawberry slice if you want to get fancy.  I personally left it as is.  I couldn't wait to drink it - the smell was so enticing. 

Mmm, mmm, good!  Now that's an amazing cup of chocolatey coffee!  Just look at my face.  You can tell I'm just soaking it all in..... Lol!

Please consider making your own coffee and drink treats at home.  That's the only way you'll know what's truly being put into it.  You know it will be better for you too! 

Next time I will experiment with iced coffee and other drink concoctions that are good for the warmer months since spring is now upon us.  I'm determined to keep it healthy and make it myself. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sausage and Kale Soup

I'm taking advantage of the final in-season winter vegetables even though it just turned spring. I bought some kale at my local farmers market and challenged myself to cook with it.  A moms group that I belong to made kale chips and a soup with it.  I decided to tweak their soup recipe a bit for my taste buds.  The end result was amazing.  I love this easy, clean and delicious soup.  I have eaten it twice in the last three weeks.  I think you will love it too!

Sausage and Kale Soup
(Makes 6 servings)

1 Tbsp of olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
1 to 1 and 1/2 cups of carrots, sliced thin, shredded or even pureed
4 cloves of garlic, minced OR use garlic powder, 1 tsp
12 oz (4 to 5 links) of chicken sausage, nitrate free and no additives, chopped
6 cups of chicken broth, all natural
2 cups of water
1 tsp of Italian seasoning or combo of basil and oregano
3 oz (half a can) of tomato paste
1 bunch of kale (4 to 5 cups) - shredded
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
additional spices to taste

In a large pot, heat your olive oil.  When it's gotten to medium heat, add in your diced onion, carrots and garlic.  Cook until the onions start to brown and carrots start to soften, about five minutes.  Add in your sausage, tomato paste, chicken broth, water and remaining seasonings.  Stir well and simmer for about ten minutes.  Add in your shredded kale.  Cook for another 5-7 minutes or until the kale wilts. 

Remove from stove. Serve in soup bowl.  Enjoy! 

I was feeling a bit under the weather a few days ago - perhaps due to pollen in the air or perhaps due to something that didn't agree with me.  This soup sure did make me feel better though!  :-)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Beet Sauce (Or I Can't Believe It's Not Real Tomato Sauce!)

Lately my husband is avoiding nightshade foods to help his gut heal.  He's still having some setbacks with his digestion and small intestine.  What the heck are nightshade foods, you may be wondering?  Oh just your everyday average cooking staples like tomatoes, peppers, onions, etc.  Deep Long Sigh! 

Well how in the heck can I make meals for him and us without any tomatoes, onions and peppers in them?  Does that mean no more spaghetti squash?  No more pizza?  No more gumbos or chili?  I don't think so!  I'm not giving up those things! 

I was determined not to let this temporary "setback" get the best of me.  So thank you Internet for having tons of recipes and resources out there for me to utilize.  I took two different posted recipes I found and tweaked them to make it my own fake tomato sauce for my husband.  And guess what?  You'd never really know it didn't have tomatoes in it.   The sauce LOOKS like tomato sauce and it nearly tastes like it too.  I fooled a half dozen ladies at my house for a recipe swap with this exact recipe.  So if you're avoiding tomatoes because of their acidity like my hubby is or if you're dealing with inflammation or arthritis issues, this may be the perfect sauce for you....

Beet Sauce (Or Faux Tomato Sauce)

(Makes about 3 and 1/2 cups)

1 can of beets (15 oz) OR 1 and 1/4 cups of fresh beats- undrained- can be sliced, diced or whatever - you will puree them anyway!
1 can of pumpkin puree (15 oz)
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp dried basil leaves
1/2 Tbsp onion powder (don't use real onions if you're avoiding nightshades.  The powder is okay!)
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder (don't use real garlic if you're avoiding nightshades.  The powder is okay!)
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried sage
Juice from 1 lemon (about 2-3 Tbsp)

In a medium or large sauce pan, pour in the juice from your can of beets.   Use a food processor to puree the beets into a soft, almost liquid mixture.  (You can leave some chunks if you like your tomato sauce that way).  Add the pureed beats to the sauce pan.  Now add in your pumpkin puree, olive oil, vinegars, salt, basil, onion and garlic powder and remaining seasonings.  Simmer for about 10-15 minutes.  Taste.  Add any additional salt or seasonings you see fit.  Serve as you would any tomato sauce - on a pizza, on spaghetti squash or in any dish you like. 

Enjoy and see if your friends or family will even notice the difference, that it's not real tomatoes!  :-)