During the hot summer months, nobody wants to turn on an oven or stand around for long in the kitchen, with the great outdoors calling our name! But still, we do need fuel for summertime play, and we’d like it to be tasty, quick, and healthy.
Here’s a snack that fills the bill. I often enjoy this for breakfast as well as a mid-day snack or to go with a glass of wine to make Happy Hour even happier. And they are so delicious and pretty — you’ll feel great about serving them as a summertime appetizer to anyone, almost any diet plan. Low carb, high protein, gluten-free and smart in calories as well.
And if you are looking for a nourishing, funny and uplifting summertime read to take to the beach (or your porch swing) — may I suggest you check out our books: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook and Nourished: A Search for Health, Happiness and a Full Night’s Sleep.
Simply cut a piece of string cheese in 8 equal pieces, then arrange on plate sprayed with Pam. Nuke for 15 seconds. Put a smoked almond in center of each piece of cheese while warm. Cut “cantaloupe crackers” (slices of fresh cantaloupe in cracker-sized pieces) and place cheese & almond on top.
This appetizer is cold and warm, sweet and salty, soft and crunchy. So easy so good so healthy. Enjoy!
Long time, no blog! (Insert holidays, travel, book deadline.) Since my husband Greg and I have decided to cut back on carbs and sugars, I’ve been a crazy woman in the kitchen, experimenting with new recipes, generally making big messes and having a great time. Lately I’ve been searching for a yummy but healthy cookie, that is low in carbs, low in sugar (artificial sugars don’t like me so I don’t use them), high in protein and/or fiber.
It took me several hits and misses, but I may have created it: the perfect healthy cookie. Good enough for dessert, but healthy enough to enjoy for breakfast with a cup of coffee or your fave glass of cold milk. In fact, you can feel great about giving these to your kids for breakfast or after school snack.
They are rich, made of little more than peanut butter and egg, so one or two will truly satisfy you! A half teaspoon of low sugar jelly (no artificial sweeteners) melts like a ruby jewel into the middle of a tender, flaky peanut butter nest. The cookies have about 5 grams of protein, weighing in at a little over 5 carbs each (less if you want to sub the sugar for a sugar sub). Gluten-free (if you use a GF baking powder).
This recipe makes just one dozen, can be easily stirred by hand in a smallish bowl, and takes no time to mix up. The secret with these cookies, since they have no flours at all, is to cook them in two stages. I found it is best to cook them for ten minutes at 350 to get them started on crispy/golden, then lower the heat to 300 and cook for 10 more minutes to make sure they cook all the way through. I really love natural stone or clay for baking cookies, they cook so evenly and rarely burn!
Healthy PBJ Cookies
1 c. peanut butter
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. organic sugar
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 cup low sugar jam, preserves or jelly
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium mixing bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients together (everything but the jelly) with a fork until thick, glossy and smooth. Drop 12 spoons of batter (about a tablespoon) onto greased cookie sheet, evenly spaced apart. Using the back of a rounded 1/2 teaspoon, make a little crater in the middle of each cookie, as shown below. (You can dip the back of the 1/2 teaspoon into hemp or chia seeds, almond or coconut flour or sugar to keep the batter from clinging as you make the craters.)
Fill each peanut butter crater with 1/2 teaspoon of low sugar jelly.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to 300 and bake for 10 more minutes. Let cool before moving carefully with a spatula off the cookie sheet.
These get even better as they cool.
Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!
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I’m hard at work on another book, but should be back to cookin’ and bloggin’ and makin’ messes again soon! So many good recipes and stories I’m wanting to share with you as soon as time opens up again.
In the meantime, we send heart-bouquets of gratitude and gratitude to you and yours.
Becky & Rachel
It’s the morning after Thanksgiving, my favorite part of the holiday. I’m going over the post-food highlights the way the guys go over the after-football game highlights.
The absolute funniest and surprisingly tastiest part of our meal was the turkey. I gave it a good massage with oil and butter and seasonings, stuffed the cavity with celery and garlic then tucked it into a cooking bag. Finally I put the who shebang into an electric roaster. (By the way, a wonderful purchase to free up your ovens on holidays.) Several hours later I asked my husband to turn off the roaster. He did not hear me and I was busy with guests… and well, that turkey roasted itself an extra 2 hours at 325.
When it was time to “deal with the bird” my sister-in-law Gail and I positioned ourselves so that I could lift the turkey out of the pan and juice for “carving” with a pair of heat-proof rubber gloves. But when I lifted the turkey…. to our shock, all the meat literally fell off the bone.
And I mean, ALL the meat.
Both breasts slid off in chunks, like a landslide, and then almost cartoon-like — the wings and thighs dropped off — plop, plop, plop, plop– into the broth. And there I stood, my eyes wide as saucers, holding nothing but a meatless turkey carcass.
Gail and I stood there, up to our elbows in steaming turkey parts and juice, trying so hard not to laugh as we stared at the skeleton I was now holding in disbelief. Instead of carving the turkey, we had to serve it more like pulled pork. There was nothing, really to photograph. You’ve seen one meatless turkey backbone, you’ve seen them all. But it was the juiciest most delicious turkey meat we have ever had! I am seriously contemplating repeating my “Accidental Turkey” recipe on purpose next year.
The second biggest hit was, at least for me, the pecan pie! I culled together all the best advice I could get and came up with what will be my go-to pecan pie recipe from now on! The best part is that there isn’t much “eggy-goo” — just a delicate, buttery, rich praline-like filling chocked full of pecans. By making a layer of chopped pecans, and then arranging pecan halves over the top of the pastry, you end up with a beautiful and crunchy pie!
So before I forget how I made it, here’s the recipe!
Pecan Pie Perfection
1 unbaked pie shell
3 large eggs
1 cup dark Karo (corn) syrup (I don’t like using or eating much corn syrup, but once a year, it is worth it!)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
6 T. salted butter (if you don’t use salted butter, then add 1/4 t. salt)
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. brandy flavoring
1 cup chopped pecans
about 1/2 cup of pecan halves or enough to decorate the top
In a medium mixing bowl crack and beat the eggs, then add the sugars, the butter and flavorings and stir well with a whisk.
Into prepared, uncooked pastry shell, spread the chopped pecans. Now, over the chopped pecans, arrange the halves in a pretty pattern, side by side. Very slowly and carefully pour in the filling and the pecans will rise to the top, and surprisingly, won’t shift around much — so the pattern will stay beautiful. Bake at 325 for about an hour or until the crust is is deep golden brown and the filling is set. I like my pies to lean a little on the extra brown side as the crust does not get soggy.
On this Independence Day weekend, besides thanking God and American heroes and military for our freedoms, and enjoying good food and each other….it might be fun to ponder something you’d like to “declare independence” from today: perhaps you’ll declare freedom from taking abuse in any form, freedom from guilt that holds you back, perfection that keeps you paralyzed, worry that wastes your time, bitterness that is eating you up or grudges you have held so long that you’ve forgotten the lightness of soul that letting go brings.
How about freedom from attachment to certain outcomes, or demanding life and people be other than they are, freedom from wanting what we don’t have, freedom to love without people-pleasing, freedom to validate others instead of dictate what they should think or do to be more like you?. Freedom to relax, and be who you are, and permission to nourish yourself body, soul and mind.
Freedom to say no, with kindness instead of resentment. Freedom to detach, when you need a break, with love. Freedom to nap, to play, to slow down. To create a life that makes you want to get up every morning. To bless those who disagree with you, without angst or rage, and get on with doing the good stuff in the world you have been called to do in the circles around you. To laugh more, whine less. Be more humble and easy-going and understanding that all humanity is messed up in some way, including our very flawed selves. Freedom from judging, while welcoming more grace.
Aren’t we blessed to live with these everyday choices to choose freedom over bondage?
Jesus said, “I have come that You may have life and have it more abundantly,” and “You are no longer slaves, but free…”
In our world, and in our thoughts, Lord, let freedom ring!
(A note of thanks to two of my adorable grandchildren, Jackson & 3 week old Corabelle, for providing the cuteness to this blog. And to their mom, my daughter and co-author, Rachel, for the excellent photography! If you want to read more about Corabelle’s debut, you must read Rachel’s latest post on her arrival at http://www.thenourishedmama.com/blog/meet-corabelle )
And if you want to read more about how to prioritize and nourish your life… check out our latest book, Nourished: A Search for Health, Happiness and a Full Night’s Sleep.
(Becky, the Mama.)
What do you get when you put two of mama’s best comfort foods — pot roast and marinara/ pasta — together?
Heaven in a bowl.
This has to be one of my all-time favorite creations using any left-over beef you have in the fridge from pot roast to steak. (I had some grilled flank steak left-over that I cut into pieces and used for this recipe. ) The addition of wine and beef broth (or Lipton onion soup, which is what I had on hand) and splash of heavy cream creates an extra layer of homey warmth to a traditional marinara. The wide Pappardelle noodles create the perfect nest for this dish.
I am about to head to my daughter Rachel’s home in Texas this weekend awaiting the birth of her second child, a little girl (!) who will be named Corabelle.
While Rachel is busy and recovering and nursing a newborn, I plan to whip up some comfort food with the help of my sous chef, Corabelle’s big almost-4-year-old brother, Jackson.
Rachel and Jared are still mostly vegans, so I will often make things like rice bowls or pasta dishes that are easy to tweak for vegans and carnivores alike. At Rachel’s house, I am going to try subbing Miso for the beef broth. (Miso is the closest thing I have found to bringing out a “meaty” flavor in vegetarian cooking. In fact, I love the butter, savory flavor that Miso imparts so much that I often add it to meat-based dishes to upgrade the richness. ) I will probably substitute my favorite vegan meat, Field Roast sausages, sliced and browned in olive oil, then sprinkled on top. (Other options: lentils; or chick peas, roasted in the oven first.) For creaminess, I will likely blend up some raw cashews with a little cashew or almond milk, or use use canned whole fat coconut milk. Either makes a nice substitute for a splash of cream!
No matter how you tweak this dish to make it your own, I think you will love it and that it will soon become one of your go-to favorites!
P.S. If you happen to be looking for some funny, uplifting, soul-and-body nourishing books to tuck in your beach bag this summer, you may enjoy one of our recent books!
Savory Italian Pot Roast Pasta
1 large 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (or crushed tomatoes with basil added)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cups beef broth or 1/2 package Lipton onion soup mix with 1 cup hot water
1/2 cup red wine
2 t. brown sugar
2 t. oregano or Italian seasoning
A handful of chopped fresh basil if you have it on hand
1 cup diced beef, already cooked (such as leftover roast or steak, or even pulled pork or pork loin would work as well )
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup cream
Pappardelle pasta to yield 4 servings, cooked
Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions.
In a big skillet, add the crushed tomatoes, broth (or Lipton soup mixture), garlic, red wine, beef, and Italian seasonings and brown sugar. Bring to a low boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until it is the thickness you like for pasta sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and add cream. Ladle over Pappardelle pasta in low flat bowls, then grate Parmesan cheese over all. I am purposely messy with the Parm cheese as I think it makes the dish look rustic and beautiful.
Variations: Add bits of cooked carrots, peas and potatoes to make this a one-bowl meal, and add to the “Sunday pot roast with veggies” feel.
Today I brought lunch to a bunch of hungry men, including two of my sons, who took a Saturday to pull their considerable talents and muscle together to build a very special tree house for a sweet little 5 year old girl, recovering from major surgery.
One of the easiest, most economical, filling, and yummy things to Make & Take to feed a crowd is bar-b-que pulled pork sandwiches! The sauce is so good, you really don’t need any condiments, but a spoonful of my Easy, Spicy Crunchy Asian Slaw on top adds extra deliciousness!
I like to use an even mixture of pork loin (which is the lean white meat cut of pork) and pork butt (which is darker, a little fattier and more tender). This recipe will easily feed 10 people, but I doubled the recipe today, and was able to cook the whole thing in my extra big crockpot — which yielded enough for 20. Just turn on your crock pot the night before and it will be ready to pull it apart in the morning; or start it in the morning and have dinner ready when you come home.
Easy Bar-B-Que Pulled Pork in a Crock Pot
2 – 3 lbs. pork loin
2 -3 lbs pork butt (with or without bone)
1 full head of fresh garlic, peeled, and rough chopped
2 t. Tony’s Chachere’s Seasoning (or your favorite Cajun Seasoning with Salt)
2 t. Grill Seasoning (or 1 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 t pepper)
2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 cups your favorite bottled B-B-Q Sauce (I like Sweet Baby Rays)
1/2 cup ready-made Italian Dressing, any kind
1 t. Tabasco sauce
1 envelope dry Lipton Onion Soup mix
1 cup water
2 T. brown sugar (if you prefer your sauce a little sweet)
Cut the pieces of pork into about 6 big pieces. Whisk the rest of the ingredients for the sauce into a big bowl. Pour half the sauce into the crock pot, add the cut pieces of pork arranging evenly, pour the rest of the sauce on top of the meat. Cook on high for 5 to 7 hours or until tender enough that when you pull at the meat with two forks it comes apart easily. When pork is tender, lift out the meat with tongs or two big spoons, and place in a big rectangle pan. Using two forks tear the meat into shreds. Pour the sauce from the crock pot over the meat and mix evening so that the light and dark meats are evenly combined. Taste and check seasonings, adjust to your taste. At this point you can serve it right away, or cover and refrigerate, then reheat in the oven (covered with foil) at 350 for about 20 minutes when you are ready to serve. Serve on your favorite buns or potato rolls with slaw, extra bottled BBQ sauce, sliced pickles and jalapenos.