Category Archives: appetizers/snacks

Raspberry Cream Cheese Scuffins

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What is a scuffin???  I’m glad you asked! The scuffin is the love child of a muffin and a scone with the eyes of a cheese danish. 🙂   Now, I must start with a disclaimer. I used to work at a bakery that made scuffins but this is NOT their recipe.  I was never in charge of making any recipes at this bakery and the recipe below is what I developed based on several recipes I found online, specifically working off this one from the NY Times .  So hopefully that is enough detail to cover myself to prove that this is not a recipe from the bakery I once worked at.  However the craving to make my own did 100% result from the amazingness of this bakery’s treats.

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Recipe:

1 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all purpose flour (I’ll be honest, sometimes I use 1 cup white four and 3/4 cup ground oatmeal if I don’t have whole wheat flour in the house… it works just fine. Of course you can use all white flour too- just hold back a tiny bit on the half and half)

2 tablespoons ground flax seed

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

2/3 cup half and half (or other form of milk or even non dairy milk will work)

1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries of your choice (my favorite is raspberries)

4 tablespoons butter

1/3-1/2 block of plain cream cheese.

Preheat oven to 350*

Mix all dry ingredients then add melted butter .

Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl then add to the dry and mix well.

Last, add most of the cream cheese and all the fruit and mix gently.  I love large blobs of cream cheese in my final product so that is why I told you to only mix in most of the cream cheese. The remaining part should be added as small chunks to each scuffin as it goes onto the baking sheet.

Spoon large chunks of the batter (adding small chunks of cream cheese to each) onto a baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes until scuffins are firm.

Be sure to eat one right out of the oven… that’s when they are the best! 😀

This recipe only makes about 5 scuffins depending on how big you make them.  They are perfect for breakfast or a heathy snack on the go!

Scrumptious Sweet Potato Fries

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These babies have become a regular at our house.  We used to buy frozen bags of sweet potato fries and devour them all too quickly for their cost. Then one magical day we learned how easy and delicious they were to make ourselves. Add them to dinner, lunch or make them as a filling munchy-time snack.

Look at those beautiful little sweet potatoes up there.   They are calling out to be covered in seasoned salt and popped in a 375* oven!   After you’ve cut them into thick or thin wedges (we do a little of each because I like thick hubby likes thin) pour 1-2 tablespoons of any oil over top then sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder or seasoning salt of your choice.  Do this straight on the cutting board so you don’t dirty any extra dishes and just swirl it all around with your hands. Today I am using a steak seasoning salt from a local spice shop.

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Then scrape this all onto a baking sheet and bake for 10-18 minutes at 375-400*.  These will not get crispy unless you cut them really small and burn them .  That is OK! Embrace their tender sweetness! You will know they are done when they are soft all the way through.  I usually give them a little flip/stir halfway through to even out the cooking because the side touching the baking sheet will get more brown than the side that is up. When you have decided that they are done, enjoy them plain or with mayonnaise and ketchup!  I do not have a picture of the finished product because the moment they came out of the oven…. I devoured them. 😀  oops.  Enjoy!

Oh look what I just came across on my newsfeed: 5 benefits of eating sweet potatoes 🙂 

PoPcOrN! with fresh thyme, salt and pepper

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Fresh popcorn! Popped fresh on the stove in a little coconut oil, topped off with Himalayan pink salt. My favorite movie  night snack.  Not many people make fresh popcorn these days but it is so much healthier than microwavable for many reasons and it is super easy! 😀  Give it a try and try out this savory fresh herb version if you have herbs on hand.

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2-4 TBSP virgin organic coconut oil

1/8 cup popcorn kernels

1/2 TBSP fresh thyme leaves (or herb of your choice)

1 TBSP virgin organic coconut oil and 1 TBSP butter (or oil of your choice)

In a heavy bottom pot with a good sealing lid, melt 2-4 TBSP coconut oil on med-high. You need enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Put 3 kernels in with the oil while heating with the lid on. Once these 3 kernels have popped, the oil is hot enough, add the rest of the popcorn. Turn heat down to medium heat.  Pick up the pot from the stove and give it a good shake/swirl about once every minute. Be sure to hold the lid on while you do this. I use pot holders and put my thumbs over the lid while I shake.  When the popping stops or is very very slow, remove from heat and pour out into a large bowl.

 

In a small skillet melt oil/butter with fresh herbs and heat for a few minutes on a med-low heat. Pour this mixture over the popcorn and mix.  When I make the plain version of this I just pour a few tablespoons of straight coconut oil over the popcorn and add salt.  So tasty!

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Quiche Breakfast Bites with bread crust

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So in the past year, I have moved to the Philippines, back to America and then to a new city. Now, in our new location, I have 2 new jobs! Teaching and working at an awesome bakery! (yes, it is all a bit too overwhelming) As a perk at the bakery, I will get 2 loaves of bread for free each week! That’s a lot of bread for 2 people. At my interview, I was given a free loaf and I have used it well. The bread was a whole wheat bread that is rolled out as dough then lathered in homemade pesto, rolled into a loaf and baked. It is delicious! I was thinking that I’m going to have to get creative if we are going to make the most of our 2 free loaves of bread each week. (waste not- want not!) So with that in mind and the fact that I would love to get out of my milk and cereal breakfast habit- I decided to make quiche bites with the pesto bread. It might sound weird to have quiche for breakfast- but Panera sells soufflés like hotcakes every morning which are essentially- quiches! Also, vegetables for breakfast is not a norm in America- but in many cultures- It is! America has become too obsessed with a fiber filled breakfast that we have forgotten about getting good protein at breakfast to get us going. These little quiches will have protein, fiber and veggies!

So here’s what I used:
-Artisan quality whole loaf bread (but really sliced bread would work just fine too)
-Whatever you want for your quiche: eggs, milk, cheese etc… see recipe link: My Mom’s basic quiche recipe: Quiche Recipe
-rolling pin, muffin tin

I sliced the bread into thin slices, microwaved it for a few seconds to get it really soft and rolled/smushed it down flat with a rolling pin. Then I used a large mug to cut circles (or whatever shape I could get…) out of the bread and pressed it into the bottom of a muffin cup.
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You can use any quiche recipe you want.. I use my mom’s classic quiche base and added broccoli and cheddar cheese. (A strong white cheese would have matched the pesto better though.) Here is what I came out with:
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They were a little hard to get out of the pan.. should have used muffin cups- but it wasn’t too bad. I am putting these in the freezer to pop out as a quick filling breakfast. I could make it a bit healthier, but for an occasional item- I’m happy with them. These could also be a great lunch item!

Perfect Carmel Popcorn

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A new favorite: Homemade Carmel popcorn. I found this recipe online at: carmelpotatoes.com. The recipe was for carmel popcorn balls, which I used for Christmas presents. Then I started making it as a bowl of popcorn for a movie night treat and it has become a household and party staple. It is super easy. Here is the official recipe from Carmel Potatoes’s website:
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“Ingredients:

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 rounded cups mini marshmallows (or about 25 large)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
18 cups popped corn (about 6 tablespoons of kernels)

Directions:

Pop corn and set aside in a large bowl. {I like to remove any unpopped kernels – nothing worse than biting into those!}

In a saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and let cook just one minute and then add salt and vanilla. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Immediately pour over popcorn and coat completely. Let cool for just a few minutes or until you can handle it. Spray your hands with cooking spray and form 8 popcorn balls (approx. 3 inches). Of course you can just spread it on a tray to cool and serve it in a bowl if you’d rather.” – Carmel Potatoes blog
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I make it by popping a TON of popcorn- like a huge bowl. Then melting 1 stick of margarine (I don’t use butter here b/c it’s expensive- I’m sure butter would work fine though) Add a heap of brown sugar and a bunch of marshmallows, a sprinkle of salt, and a dash of vanilla. Melt it all together and pour over the popcorn. Mix well and chow down! It is much easier to eat as regular popcorn than as a popcorn ball. This is even still good the next day or two.. maybe longer, I’ve never given it a chance to last that long! If you are into the whole “salted carmel” thing- add coarse salt at the last minute- I think it’s pretty good.

Coconut Granola

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Who doesn’t love granola? It adds a yummy crunch to yogurt, it makes an easy portable snack and it is just plain good!  Lately I have been buying an organic granola bar with a pretty good ingredient list from the store. However the last few variations I have purchased have been SOO sweet it was unreal.  Not to mention the carb and sugar content was as bad if not worse than regular granola (granted it came from better sources).Thus it was good timing to try my own recipe.

I created this recipe by slightly adapting one I found on the back of  a package of “Let’s Do…Organic” Fancy Grade Coconut Flakes.  These coconut flakes are huge flakes of coconut with no added sugar and no sulfites or preservatives.  The original recipe made a granola like  you would buy in a bag and put over yogurt or have as cereal. I wanted a granola bar I could have on hand for a nutritious snack so I took a shot at it and it worked!

Here’s How:

3 cups rolled oats

1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour  (I might try coconut flour next time)

1 cup “Let’s Do…Organic” Coconut Flakes

1/8 cup flax seed

1/4 cup wheat bran

1/2 cup chopped raw almonds

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup safflower oil

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat Oven to 300*

Mix oats, flour, coconut, cinnamon and almonds in bowl.  In a separate bowl mix brown rice syrup, maple syrup, oil and vanilla then pour over oat mixture- mix well.  Coat a baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour mixture into pan and press down with spatula.  I used a 9×13 pan and it was just a little too big- decide how thick you want the granola and choose a pan size from there. Baking times will vary depending on thickness- you want it to be a mostly dry, firm and hard but not burnt or solid rock as it will harden as it dries as well.  I baked mine for about 45 minutes.

If you want to make regular granola instead of bars- pour mixture into pan or cookie sheet with edges and spread out.  Bake 30 minutes then mix and bake another 30 minutes. Also the original recipe called for 1/2 cup maple syrup (no brown rice syrup, flax, or wheat bran).

What is good for you in this tasty treat?

Oats– high in soluble fiber and a source of good fat. (Yes- there is GOOD fat) Oat’s fiber helps you feel full longer and helps lower bad cholesterol and boost good. Oats are also are a good source of Vit. B, E, calcium and protein. Plus using natural rolled oats gives you more goodness without the sugar and artificial junk in instant oatmeal.

Almonds– Another great source of fiber, protein, vitamin E, Omega 3 and 6, and calcium (one of highest in plant forms- eat up vegans!) Great for your heart (in moderate amounts), skin, arthritis, and protection against cancer. Almonds take longer to digest in the body which helps you feel full longer- great for dieters (be sure to chew well!). I love them soaked as a snack! (Place a small handful in a bowl or tupperware and cover with water- let sit for a few hours or overnight. This makes them softer, easier to digest and the nutrients are multiplied and easier to absorb.)

Coconut– While coconut is high in fat it is a good kind of fat containing medium chain fatty acids which the body uses as energy rather than stores. The type of medium chain fatty acids found in coconut also have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

Peachy Keen Morning Smoothie

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Ah, blissful summer is here.  Full of fresh produce and beautiful mornings.  I recently got a great deal on peaches and tomatoes at local Marker Miller Orchard.  They have a section called “#2” produce. It’s like second chance, second look kinda stuff- usually it is either a bit older, bruised or unattractive in some way.  You may be wondering ‘why would you want to buy this stuff?’  Well sometimes the stuff does look gross and I would never spend my money on it. But often it is perfectly fine and I have gotten some great deals!  My whole eggplant series was because I got a whole box of perfectly good eggplant from the #2 section for just a few bucks!  Those eggplants lasted several weeks too!  Well this week I got 4 huge tomatoes for $2 and a bag of at least 12 slightly bruised but very tasty peaches for  $2!  Great sale and fresh local produce- could it get any better?  OK, so besides eating the peaches plain, here is a great idea of something to do with them:

First I start with 2 ice cubes and sliced peaches (skin and all- the skin has great nutrients and fiber!) 

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Then I grind a few tablespoons of flax seed and rolled oats in the coffee grinder and add to the mix. 

Last, blend it all together, put in a fancy glass and take a moment outside to enjoy the beautiful morning God has given you. 

What is good for you in this?

Peaches: A great source of potassium (which I just learned that you may be low in if you are on diuretics or sweat profusely!) Also a good source of beta-carotine which the body turns into vitamin A which is great for the eyes, helping to prevent cataracts.  Other good eye nutrients in peaches are lycopene and lutein which not only benefit the eyes but also the heart. Peaches are also of course a good source of fiber and vitamin C. 

Greek Yogurt:  Yes, yes this may seem like a health fad sweeping the nation, but Greek yogurt really is good for you.  Especially if you are a low meat eater and need to be sure you are getting enough protein. Greek Yogurt has twice as much protein as regular yogurt with absolutely no fat along with lower sugar, sodium and carbs. It is a bit tart but with fruit and/or granola added, it is good. 

Coconut Milk: Personally I think Soy milk has too good of a reputation. For one thing most of our country’s soy is genetically modified- 2nd non organic livestock is usually fed large amounts of soy and corn and soy is in most snack foods and mayonnaise-  so I think we are getting plenty of it without having to drink it too. “So Delicious” brand coconut milk is organic and non-GMO.  Coconuts provide good nutrients such as medium chain fatty acids- a good fat that we use easily as energy instead of storing it.  So Delicious coconut milk has added nutrients such as vitamin B12 (something vegans and vegetarians often lack) and is a good source of Calcium. 

Flaxseed: A great source of omega 3’s, it is an anti-inflammatory, protects bone health, can lower cholesterol and can protect against heart disease, diabetes and cancer. 2 tablespoons gives you about 4 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.  It does give the smoothie a bit of a texture, but it doesn’t bother me.

Rolled Oats– I added rolled oats for the same reason I added flaxseed. It has good nutrients and health benefits including protein and fiber.