Girls on Food

Recipe

Superfood For Supergirls: Bonnie’s Quinoa Tabbouleh

SUPER GIRL BONNIE WITH SUPER FOOD QUINOA!
SUPER GIRL BONNIE WITH SUPER FOOD QUINOA!

Up until a couple of years ago I had never heard of quinoa. Suddenly it’s everywhere and all the cool people are eating it. Well, I may not be “cool”, but I AM room temperature and like to know what’s going on.

What’s going on is the revival of an ancient grain called quinoa (pronounced “keen’-wah”).

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RAW QUINOA

It’s high in protein and lacks gluten (which has become the bad-boy of the food world these days). It also cooks really fast – it’s done in 10-15 minutes.

I decided to make tabbouleh, replacing the traditional bulgur with quinoa. Excellent!

QUINOA TABBOULEH
QUINOA TABBOULEH

Quinoa Tabbouleh is one of those multifaceted dishes that makes for a light lunch coupled with a hearty yeast roll, a substitute for a green salad, or a tangy side dish to accompany your entrée.

Even better, it’s easy to make and can be prepared well ahead of time. One less thing to do during that hectic count-down period when you’re trying to have everything done at the same time. (Don’t even think of talking to me during crazy-time!)

QUINOA TABBOULEH – makes 6 cups

  • 1½ cups uncooked quinoa
  • 1¾ tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 2 cups tomato, chopped
  • 1½ cups parsley, finely chopped (measure before chopping)
  • 1  1/3 cup cucumbers, seeded & chopped
  • 4 scallions, sliced

Cook quinoa by bringing 3 cups water and quinoa to a boil, then simmering covered until water is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes).  Stir every few minutes, keeping an eye out so it doesn’t burn.  Let cool.

quinoa cooking

Chop ingredients while quinoa is cooking.

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NOTE:  Here’s how to prepare the cucumber:

cucumber skin

cucumber seed strip

NOTE:  An easy way to chop parsley is to put washed parsley in a cup and snip away with your kitchen shears.

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Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until serving. It will keep for days.

Be sure and check out my blog, VEGETARIAN COOKING FOR CARNIVORES BLOG!

 

The Friends That Paleo Together: Monique’s Paleo Challenge

Paleo is one of the most popular diet crazes going around and I somehow got thrown onto the bandwagon. Before I go any further, here’s full disclosure. I am looking to win a challenge. My gym presented a “Paleo Challenge” and, while I was skeptical of the diet, I am never one to back down from a challenge. Three weeks of no wine, no sweets and no bread sounded dreadful. Exactly what was I supposed to eat for three weeks while maintaining my workout schedule? I quickly found out that there are a lot of Paleo options available.

Paleo curry chicken? Yep

curry

It was simple to make and required nothing more than swapping out white potatoes for sweet potatoes. In some paleo circles, rice is on the “approved” list. However, that was not the case with our challenge so I could not pair the curry chicken with rice, but because it was so flavorful, I did not miss it at all.

Two weeks into the challenge and my gym-mates and I had a paleo social, which is just another way of saying we had a potluck with paleo-only food. Everyone brought a dish they loved and it turned out really well. First up, zesty lime shrimp and avocado salad. It was a super simple dish that packed a punch. Of course, with my allergies I could not partake. But, everyone raved about it so much that I wanted to include the recipe for the non-allergic to try for their next get together.

shrimp paleo

Paleo Approved Shrimp and Avocado Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 limes, juice of
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt, black pepper to taste
  • 1 lb jumbo cooked, peeled shrimp, chopped*
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 medium hass avocado, diced (about 5 oz)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced fine
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Only thing you need to do to make this is mix the ingredients in a bowl and enjoy. Well…there may be a few more steps. You can find them here. There was a ton of food at the social. Everything from honey glazed salmon, which was amazing, to a no-bake chocolate tart with almond crust and toasted coconut. The tart was so good that I didn’t get to take a picture because they were gone almost as soon as they were brought out.

All isn’t lost though. The one sweet treat that I cannot get out of my head is the paleo banana chocolate infused muffins. If you think muffins made without the traditional ingredients would be dry, flavorless or outright unappetizing, think again. These muffins were light, fluffy, moist delicious bites of banana chocolate heaven. This godsend was actually the first paleo food shared at the gym as incentive to get us to the 7am workout. I have to say I was extremely glad I made it to that class. Here’s what was in store after a brutal workout.

paleo muffins

I definitely will not leave you without the recipe for these tasty muffins.

Paelo Approved Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
  • 1 or 2 tbs raw honey, depending on how ripe your bananas are and how sweet you like your muffins
  • 1/2 cup dark mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mash the bananas
  2. Then add the eggs, vanilla, coconut oil and honey to the bananas and stir until combined
  3. In a larger bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon)
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture bowl – stir into a batter
  5. Next add the chocolate chips and chopped nuts and stir well (save a couple of tablespoons of the nuts to top the muffins)
  6. Pour batter into a muffin tin lined with baking cups – fill each cup about 3/4 full
  7. Sprinkle remaining nuts on top of muffins and place in oven
  8. Bake at 350º F for about 22-25 minutes (oven times and temperatures will vary – test doneness by inserting a toothpick, if it comes out clean, they’re done)
  9. Store covered in fridge, or you can freeze these to enjoy later

Do you have a kick-ass paleo recipes to share? Leave your recipe in the comments below.

Summer’s Spiced Apple Cider Sangria

I am a total fangirl of Fall. What’s not to love? Fall makes me feel cozy like a nice cashmere sweater… so soft, so pretty… *clears throat* Anyway, since I live in California and it’s still a blazing 90 degrees, It’s not exactly sweater weather. I wasn’t going to let this heat stop me from enjoying this magical time of year, though… Enter the Spiced Apple Cider Sangria. The perfect mixture of refreshing with warm and sweet.

Spices

Sangria is one of those awesome concoctions that are super flavorful and pretty simple to make. The ingredients are interchangeable too. The key to whatever you choose is to let everything really marinate together. Okay… here we go.

Spiced Apple Cider Sangria

1 bottle of Pinot Grigio (it doesn’t have to be fancy, you’re mixing it)

Light Rum, I used about a cupliquids

Apple Cider, About 24 ounces
3-4 apples, I used a variety for color
1 orange, I used 3 generous peels
All Spice, whole or ground*
Cloves, whole*
4 Cinnamon sticks
Ginger Ale

*I used a nice pinch of allspice and a couple of pinches of cloves.

You’ll need a 2 quart or larger pitcher

fruit

Slice your apples.
Mix all remaining ingredients together, except for the ginger ale. Add the apples and seal the pitcher. I like to let mine sit for a day. If you don’t have a day then wait at least 5 hours.

When ready to serve, pour into glasses, add fruit and finish off with a splash of ginger ale. Super yummo!!

Let me know how you guys make your fall Sangria.

Cheers!
me and sangria

Vegan Quesadillas with Homemade Guacamole

vegan quesadillas with homemade guacamole

vegan quesadillas with homemade guacamoleAin’t nuthin better than a stack of cheesy quesadillas! These are extra special, super duper quesadillas because they’re vegan and gluten free. Oh, and some rockin’ guacamole to slather all over them doesn’t hurt either.

I love Mexican food big time but when I go out to eat, I find that if it’s not stuffed with dairy and meat, then there’s the gluten and oil and processed foods to worry about. No muy bien. So I decided to make my own plant-based ‘dillas with very few processed ingredients. If you want a quick meal that’s cheesy, crispy, and savory all in one, then read on!

vegan quesadillas

One of my absolute favorite smells is onions sauteing in coconut oil. It’s divine. Lucky for you, that’s the first step of making this heavenly recipe. Dice up a couple of very thick slices of white onion and saute in coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil or vegan butter) on medium-low heat until they start to brown. Toss in some sliced button mushrooms, as many as you like. I recommend using an entire 8 oz package of them. Mushrooms are my favorite, but if you don’t like them, you can replace them with squash or zucchini. Once those are nice and juicy looking, rinse two handfuls of fresh spinach and add to the pan. Sprinkle some garlic powder in. Put the sauteed mixture in a bowl and set aside.

Turn the heat down a little bit. Make sure the pan is lightly oiled and place a corn tortilla in it (this is what makes it gluten-free as opposed to using a flour tortilla). Spread half of your veggie mixture evenly on top. Take Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds and put a nice layer over the veggies. I also like to sprinkle some more garlic powder before placing another corn tortilla on top. Press down lightly on the quesadilla. Cover and let cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until the tortillas start to brown and look nice & crispy, and the cheese is melted.

vegan quesadillas with homemade guacamole

While your quesadillas are cooking, you can start prepping your guacamole. Dice up one large avocado and lightly mash in a bowl until you have the consistency you want. Squeeze fresh lime juice and add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. You can also take a small clove of garlic, mince it, and add to the mix for some extra spice. Dice up some tomato and red onion to garnish.

Take your quesadilla out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Use a large, sharp knife to cut into 4 even pieces. This recipe makes 2 servings (2 quesadillas, or 8 pieces). Serve with the guac and enjoy!

vegan quesadillas

vegan quesadillas with homemade guacamole

Would also be quite delicious served with vegan sour cream (available at natural foods stores) or salsa. This makes a great appetizer, but it’s also filling enough to be the main course. Enjoy!

Jillian ♥

Summer’s Marinara Sauce 

The leaves are changing, the air is more crisp, that can only mean one thing. Fall is coming… GOT anyone? I love the season that spurs all things pumpkin, spiced and the heavy use of the color orange. What I really love most about the fall though is that I can cook again without dying of heat exhaustion. One of my favorite things to do is make sauce. Why sauce you ask? I’ll tell you. Sauce makes everything better. Everything.

I was feeling saucy on this fall inspired day (sorry, I had to), so I glanced around my kitchen and spied the bowl full of farm fresh tomatoes I recently acquired. Next to the bowl was my wonderfully fragrant basil plant. Which, I would like to add, I have been taking really good care of, surprisingly. My taste buds started to tingle. I knew exactly what I was going to make. Marinara. YUMMO!!

To kick your fall off right here is my super yummy, super easy marinara recipe.

Summer’s Marinara
2 lbs. of Fresh Tomatoes  tomatoes
Sprigs of fresh Basil
Minced Garlic
Diced Yellow Onion
Olive Oil (about 3 to 4 tbs.)
Red Wine (about 1/4 cup)
Himalayan Salt
Cayenne Pepper
Black Pepper
Crushed Red Peppers

Seasonings

*I pretty much do everything by taste, so these are not exact measurements. I also like things spicy so I add a lot of heat to mine.

I put the olive oil in the pan over medium heat. Once oil heated up I threw in the onion. Sautéed them for a few minutes and then added the garlic. Once the garlic gets fragrant, about 3 minutes I then add the tomatoes, a pinch of salt and pepper and let the juices from the tomatoes come to a boil. When it reaches a boil I turn it down to low heat and let the sauce simmer until tomatoes get tender.

After about 20-30 minutes of simmering add the cayenne, salt, crushed red pepper, black pepper (to taste) and the wine. Let it simmer for another 20-30 minutes. around the last 10 minutes throw in the basil. I toss in full sprigs and let it wilt. I pull it out before I serve.

onionsBasil

And that is it. Marinara is done. It is ready to be served over roasted veggies, egg whites, on toasted bread, zoodles, pretty much whatever you want. Or you can let it cool and freeze it.

Sauce cookingCollage Marinara

Don’t forget to post your pics of your yummy marinara and tag Girls on Food and me, Summer on Instagram, twitter and Facebook.

Vegan Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

chocolate chia seed pudding

This may be the most beautiful recipe I’ve shot yet! And it’s not because of my mad photography skills – all the credit goes to the food and it’s natural beauty?? Not to mention, this chia seed pudding allows me to consume chocolate in breakfast form. Now I just gotta work on lunch and dinner.

chocolate chia seed puddingI’ve made this recipe a handful of times since photographing it and I love it because it’s so simple to make. Simple is good since I’m one of those people that wakes up and refuses to talk or make contact with anyone until I’ve had coffee and breakfast + a substantial amount of time to process the fact that it’s morning and I’m awake. So basically, I’m delightful. ?

 

 

 

However, I can’t take all the credit for this masterful recipe you are about to read. I adapted it from the Minimalist Baker, another awesome food blog with some great recipes.

The star of this show is obviously the chia seeds. They are native to South America and were consumed by the Aztecs and Mayans because they provided sustainable energy. Chia seeds are high in fiber, protein, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids.

chocolate chia seed pudding

For this recipe, all you do is mix the following ingredients together in a large bowl:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups rice milk (or any non-dairy milk)
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar

The cocoa powder will be clumpy, but continue stirring and it will dissolve. Stir or whisk for a couple of minutes until you have a smooth mixture. Cover and keep in the fridge overnight (recommended) or for a few hours until it gains a pudding like consistency.

raspberriesI poured some of the pudding into a nice sized glass, followed by a layer of fresh raspberries, then the rest of the pudding until it filled the glass. I topped with a few more berries, a drizzle of vegan chocolate sauce (melted coconut oil and cocoa powder) and a sprig of mint. This makes one portion. You can sub the coconut sugar for maple syrup or vegan honey.

Enjoy this tasty, easy to make recipe packed full of nutrients. You’ll love it if you’re a morning person, and if you’re not (like yours truly), you’ll love the zero effort needed to pull this dish out of the fridge and eat immediately. Even better, double the recipe and have your breakfast for the following day, too!

Jillian ♥

Bonnie’s Veggie Cheese Waffles

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Bonnie’s 1950’s waffle iron still makes great waffles!

Years ago, when my mother bought a new waffle iron, she gave me her old one. And I mean OLD one. It’s probably from the 50s. My brother loves to tease me about my “fire hazard” waffle iron (don’t worry – it’s not). But I live by the maxim, “They don’t make ’em like that anymore!”

Besides being frugal, I’m a gal who’s hip and cooool (notice the extra “o’s”? – oh, yeah!). So when there’s a new food trend, I’m right there with fork in hand.

The pop-food that caught my eye recently was waffles. No longer just for breakfast, dripping in maple syrup, today’s waffles are topped with ice cream for a hot fudge sundae, made into a Monte Cristo sandwich, baked into a 7-layer cookie bar, ice cream wedged between 2 waffles for an ice cream sandwich. I’ve gained 5 pounds just thinking about those luscious delights.

Since I like to think outside the box, I wondered what if I added veggies to the batter and topped it with caramelized onions, thus creating a dinner (or lunch) waffle?

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VEGGIE CHEESE WAFFLE – yummilicious!

Epic win! (See – I’m SOOOO with it!) They were delicious, filling, and the calories were quite reasonable since I left out the oil in the batter and the syrup on top.

So grab that waffle maker you have hidden in the back of the cupboard and go make dinner!

DINNER WAFFLES – makes 2½ large waffles

  • 2 T cider vinegar plus enough milk (I use nonfat) to equal 1 cup
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt (this is separate from salt below)
  • 1 zucchini, shredded, chopped, or cut into half moons
  • 4 mushrooms, chopped
  • 2/3 cup fresh spinach, chopped & packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 T Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp dried dill
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
  • optional: 3 strips imitation bacon (I use Morningstar), cooked crispy, then crumbled
  • oil to grease waffle iron, if needed

Combine cider vinegar and milk – we’re making buttermilk. Let sit as you prepare the rest of the recipe. Why make buttermilk? Because the smallest amount you can purchase is a quart and we only need 1 cup. If you already have buttermilk or need more than 1 cup, then you can just buy it, if you like.

buttermilk making

Caramelize onions by melting butter in a skillet at medium heat and frying onions for about 25 minutes – until they’re golden brown. (Don’t worry about the skillet – an SOS pan takes care of that in no time) Stir often. Sprinkle in 1/8 tsp salt.

caramelize onions

In a saucepan, sauté the zucchini, mushrooms, and spinach in a drop of oil until cooked.

In a mixing bowl (preferably one with a spout for easy pouring), beat egg and Dijon. Beat in buttermilk. Gently stir in by hand the dill, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/4 tsp salt. Don’t over mix – there can still be streaks of flour. Add in cooked veggies and cheese, and stir just enough to mix everything.

Preheat waffle iron. Brush with oil, if needed. Pour on batter. If using “bacon”, sprinkle on. Close lid and cook.

waffles

NOTE: The secret to prevent waffles from sticking to the iron is not to lift up the lid too early.  If you do that, you’ll have a big mess on your hands. I set my timer for 4 minutes before I check – by then, the waffle has baked enough to hold together. I usually have to cook it another couple of minutes.

Top with onions and serve hot.

 

Briana’s Simple Beer-Battered Fried Pickles

I’m a sucker for unusual fried foods. So imagine my surprise when I found out that fried pickles were actually a thing! My mouth immediately started watering at the thought of a tart and tangy pickle wrapped in a light and flaky beer batter.

To the stove!

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Ingredients:

  • Sliced Dill Pickles
  • Beer- I used PBR American Style Premium Lager, but any kind is fine. I say the paler the better.
  • All Purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • Your Choice of seasonings (optional)

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First, combine your desired seasonings with the flour in a medium bowl. Now, of course the pickles will bring big flavor of their own, but I added pink salt, garlic pepper, garlic powder and cumin just to add a different dimension and make the breading stand out.

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Next, pour the beer into the flour mixture and whisk; add enough beer so that the mixture is loose but not so much that it’s too thin. If it’s too thin just add more flour. It should slowly drip from the whisk.

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Now the fun part! On a separate plate, thinly coat a pickle slice in plain flour, this will help your batter stick.

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Then dunk the pickle in the batter, submerging it completely.

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Carefully take your batter coated pickle and lightly coat it once more in the plain flour. The batter should look almost doughy at this point.

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You can try to use a fork but that gets so frustrating. Using your hands gets pretty messy, but it’s all good.

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In a small to medium skillet (depending on how patient you are) place your coated pickles in hot vegetable oil. Use enough oil so that the pickles have one side at least submerged in the oil.

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Let them fry for about 2-4 minutes on one side, or until they are golden brown on one side. During this time you can repeat your coating process on more pickles. But trust me, this is one tedious process that is worth it!

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Flip the pickles when ready and when they are golden brown on both sides, transfer onto a plate with a paper towel to soak up excess oil.

For a different texture you can follow the same process with a traditional egg-wash fry. Just replace the beer batter with beaten eggs and add your desired seasoning to the plain flour coat.

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Serve while warm with ranch (or chipotle ranch!) on your good china. Because let’s face it, this is a very fancy appetizer!

Alex’s Home Brewed Kombucha

So I’ve been told I’m a little bit of a hippie, and while that may be true, the one thing I know for sure is that I am obsessed with kombucha. Now when kombucha first came to my attention, I was kind of stressed out by the whole thing, but as someone who has an extremely cranky stomach, I thought maybe it’s probiotic powers could help. The rest was history; I got totally hooked and began spending ridiculous amounts of money on it every day. Then everyone started talking about home brewing, and telling me how easy it was, and my curiosity was piqued. So when my friend Kelly told me one of our students at the yoga studio, Michelle, had given her a scoby and some lovely hand written brewing instructions, I knew I had to join!

FullSizeRender

Here is Kelly with our batch, ready to go into a dark place for two weeks so the magic can happen!

The instructions are simple enough, brew tea with a gallon of filtered water, and 8-10 green or black tea bags, whichever you prefer. Add one cup sugar, and then let the tea cool completely. The scoby doesn’t like metal or being refrigerated, so make sure to keep that in mind. Once the tea has cooled completely, remove the tea bags and pour into a gallon glass container sterilized with vinegar. Make sure you have clean hands, and remove your scoby from its original jar and place into your brewed tea (it’s gross, but not nearly as gross as taking it out, I promise you.) Then place a paper towel over the top of your jar, secure with a rubber band, and place the covered jar in a dark place for 7-10 days. This can vary a bit from brew to brew, we allowed ours to sit for 14 days, which added the fizziness often associated with kombucha and were very happy with the results.

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Then comes the second stage of brewing, which is the flavoring process, and that’s where the real fun starts. We had initially decided on lemon-ginger-blueberry but then changed course and settled on strawberry-mint. This was a killer flavor combo and I highly recommend it, it’s sweet and super refreshing and definitely worth a try. To flavor, add your flavors to a new separate airtight jar (or two if you’re sharing with a friend) and pour the tea in, leave about one inch of tea in the original jar, along with your original scoby and the “mother scoby”, and save for your next brew!

FullSizeRender We let our flavors brew for one week, until the tea was super fizzy and had a nice amount of sweetness to it, and then removed the flavors by hand. FullSizeRenderThe whole process was so easy and something I can see myself continuing to do over and over again, the best part is that after every brew, you have a new scoby ready to go for the next one! Our next flavor combo will be peach-basil and we are so excited about it!

If you can get your hands on a scoby, give it a shot, get crazy with flavors, and pour yourself a glass!

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Cheers!

Bonnie’s Birthday Lemon Zinger Cupcakes

Bonnie with LEMON ZINGER CUPCAKE!
Bonnie with LEMON ZINGER CUPCAKE!

As you might expect from GOF’s resident from-scratch cook, I’ve always made my family’s birthday cakes.  I even took a cake decorating class while pregnant with my first son to compete with the other moms’ bakery bought cakes.

birthday cakes

While layer or sheet cakes provide a better canvas on which to decorate, AND they’re faster to make, my preference of late has been cupcakes. No slicing, no silverware, and everyone gets the same amount. (When you’re dealing with kids, equal amounts is VERY important!) Not to mention the fact that cupcakes provide portion control. One cupcake = 1 dessert.

I created LEMON ZINGER CUPCAKES because I couldn’t find a recipe with a delicate texture while packing the lemony punch I wanted.

LEMON ZINGER CUPCAKE
LEMON ZINGER CUPCAKE – so pretty!
Delicate texture with a powerful lemon taste.
Delicate texture with a powerful lemon taste.

NOTE: You can double the recipe, but no more than that – cupcake batter needs to go straight into the oven as soon as it’s mixed. If you need more, prepare a fresh batch while the first one is baking.

ADDITIONAL NOTE:  Ingredients should be at room temperature.

LEMON ZINGER CUPCAKES – makes 9-11 cupcakes

  • 1¼ cup cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda (NOT powder)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 T salted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 T lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
  • 1 T lemon zest, packed in the measuring spoon (don’t be stingy)
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used nonfat)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • optional (but not really necessary) for extra zing – 1/2 tsp lemon extract

Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Melt the butter. Remove from heat just before it’s completely melted – it will continue to melt. (You don’t want butter too hot or it will cook the eggs.) Pour into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer.

Add in the sugar and beat at medium high for 4 minutes.

Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well with each.

Add and mix in the lemon juice and zest (and lemon extract, if using).

Add in about half the flour mixture and VERY GENTLY mix in. It’s okay if there’s still flour unincorporated. You don’t want to over mix cupcakes or they’ll be tough. You can use your electric mixer, but keep it at the lowest speed and beat for just a few seconds.

Add in the milk and vanilla, and VERY GENTLY mix in.

Add in the rest of the flour and (you guessed it) VERY GENTLY mix in.

Preheat oven to 375º Fahrenheit.

Fill muffin cup liners 1/2 to 2/3 full with batter. Put a little water into the empty cups so they don’t scorch.

bake cupcakes

Bake for 13-16 minutes. DON’T OPEN OVEN DOOR BEFORE 13 MINUTES! Test for doneness by lightly pressing center with your finger. If it springs back, it’s done. Do this fast – you don’t want the oven to cool from the open door.

When done, take pan from oven and let sit for 1 minute before carefully removing cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING – makes 2 cups, enough for above recipe plus extra

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar (I never sift, but you can, if you want)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5-6 T milk (I used nonfat)

Put the butter out to soften when you start the cupcakes (or earlier, if you can remember). Cut it in small pieces to soften quicker.

Cream together the butter and sugar at medium high speed of an electric mixer. Add in the salt and 2 T milk, and beat at medium high. Continue to add milk one tablespoon at a time, beating well with each addition, until you get the consistency you want. If you add too much milk, the frosting will be too thin, especially if you’re piping it. If this happens, just add more confectioners sugar. If it gets too thick, add more milk.

Spoon frosting into a large pastry bag with a large star tip. Begin on the outside, squeezing the bag evenly as you circle the top until you get to the center. Give one final squeeze and cease pressure as you lift away the pastry bag.

piping frosting

NOTE: I decorated the cupcakes with yellow sprinkles and a lemon coated almond.

You can freeze leftover frosting. It’s always nice to have some extra on hand.

Be sure to check out my blog, VEGETARIAN COOKING FOR CARNIVORES BLOG!

Jillian’s Berry & Herb Coconut Ice Cream Pops

berry & herb coconut ice cream pops

With all of the rain in central Texas earlier this year, I ALMOST forgot it was summer. It hasn’t been it’s usual scorching self. And then August rolled around – the worst month of the year to be a Texan – and oh yeah, it’s summer! Thanks 106 degree weather. Thanks very much. Luckily, my mom sent me some popsicle molds in my birthday package a couple months ago and I finally got to use them this weekend. Nothing screams summer like nice cold popsicles. But these are special popsicles. They are magical raw vegan popsicles. Oooh… A rich and creamy coconut base paired with frozen berries and fresh herbs. Toss in a little raw sugar to sweeten the deal and you’ve got homemade popsicles that are way better than anything store bought!

Here is the front and back of the popsicle molds my mom bought. She got them at Central Market, but I’m sure you could find something similar at other stores or online.

popsicle mold

The molds are really easy to use and I love that this brand is BPA & Phthalate free. These only make 4 at a time, but it’s the perfect amount if you want to share them with a couple of besties or secretly eat them all yourself 🙂

I took this recipe idea from the blog This Rawsome Vegan Life and I pretty much stick to it other than a couple of minor changes. I made two batches – The first batch was berry (straw, black, and blue) and thyme. I added a little less sugar to these because I was scared of overdoing it. They came out milky white and although not quite as sweet as I would’ve liked, they were still delicious. Here’s a close up:

berry & thyme coconut ice cream pops

The second batch I made consisted of strawberry and fresh basil. I used more sugar than the original recipe called for. These came out the perfect sweetness in my opinion, but it did change the color of the pops, they were a darker color and not as white. I’m totally fine with that because they still looked pretty and tasted great!

strawberry & basil coconut ice cream pops

Even if you aren’t vegan, you will salivate over these ice cream pops. They’re so refreshing and creamy, easy to make (even for kids) and best of all; it’s a dessert that’s actually healthy!

Here is what you will need:

1 set of 4 popsicle molds
One 15 oz can of full fat coconut milk
Frozen berries
Fresh herbs
1/4 c + 1 heaping tbsp raw organic sugar

And here is what you do with said ingredients:

  1. Empty the can of coconut milk into a blender. Add the sugar and blend together for a few seconds.
  2. Place your frozen berries inside the popsicle molds. Sprinkle the fresh herbs in as well. Herbs that have small leaves like thyme don’t need to be chopped, but I recommend it for larger leaves like basil or mint.
  3. Pour the coconut milk mixture into each mold. Add the popsicle sticks and place in the freezer overnight or for several hours.
  4. Take out of the freezer and peel the molds from the popsicles. Voila!

These babies will melt pretty fast, especially if you’re outside. I stored the leftovers on a plate in the freezer, and when I was ready to eat them, I pulled them out and let them defrost for a few minutes first. Use any kind of fruit/herb variations you like. Fresh fruit works as well. If you have any leftover coconut milk mixture like I did, you can use it in smoothies or as a creamer for tea & coffee. Yum!

jillian with ice cream pop

Enjoy!

Jillian ♥

 

Stirred, Not Shaken: Bonnie’s Zucchini Tomato Stir-Fry

You may think California summers are filled with sun, sand, and surf, but we natives know the truth – they’re filled with ZUCCHINI! Lots of zucchini!

I think people grow it just because it’s foolproof – and when I say, “grow”, I mean GROW! Overnight those 7″ beauties balloon in size like they’re props in a science fiction film. Nooo Being the frugal (aka, cheap) person that I am, throwing out those gargantuous summer squash logs is out of the question. But just how much zucchini bread can one eat?

Then I got an idea!lightbulb momentI found an old recipe card (yes, I’m THAT old) for a zucchini stir-fry, tweaked it a little, coming up with a super-easy, low cal side dish. BONUS – it uses up those tomatoes that are stockpiling on the counter. Ta-da!  Zucchini Tomato Stir-Fry!IMG_6119 ZUCCHINI TOMATO STIR-FRY – makes 3 servings

  • vegetable oil for stir-frying
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed dried rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cups zucchini, chopped in whatever shape you want
  • 1 cup tomato, chopped
  • optional:  grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

NOTE:  To easily chop parsley, use your kitchen shears:parsley snippingIn a skillet or wok, heat a teaspoon or so of oil – just enough so things don’t stick. Add in the garlic, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, rosemary, and oregano. Cook at medium heat (375º Fahrenheit if using a wok) for a few minutes, until onion has browned – stirring often.

Add in zucchini and tomato, continuing to stir-fry until the zucchini is done. This takes about 10 minutes, depending on how firm or mushy you like your zucchini.

Sprinkle on cheese, if desired, and serve.

Be sure and check out my blog at Vegetarian Cooking For Carnivores Blog.