Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Make Your Own Apple Pie Lara Bars at Home

I've developed a new obsession with Lara Bars. After trying out their cashew cookie and apple pie flavored bars, I looked at the ingredient list, and knew that this was something that I could easily make at home, and for a fraction of the cost. The minimal ingredients and the short time to it takes make these leaves little room for excuses why you shouldn't try them yourself. I have made 2 batches in the past week, making it a great snack for us to bring on the plane to JFK tomorrow, as well as on our drive to Vermont this weekend for my sorority sister's wedding! So long vending machine snacks and processed junk! Hello homemade health food that actually tastes good! Better yet, these bars are vegan, gluten-free, dairy free, and soy free!

Apple Pie Lara Bars

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup organic raisins
  • 3/4 cup dried apple slices
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • pinch of sea salt
  • water (if needed)
Add the dates, raisins, and apple slices to your food processor and pulse until the ingredients turn into a sticky ball. Add in the almonds, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Pulse until the the nuts are finely chopped and the mixture is sticky when you press your finger to it. If needed, add water 1 tsp. at a time, until you reach the consistency you need.

Add the mixture to a parchment paper lined baking dish and press down firmly with your fingers. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Lift the parchment paper out of the dish and cut into 6 evenly sized bars. Wrap each one individually in cling wrap.

Keep at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Baked Vegetable Frittata

The local Farmer's Markets here in AZ are really creating a healthy habit here in my kitchen. I just can't seem to get enough veggies in my diet as of late. And surprisingly my fiance hasn't been asking for meat either. We are by NO means vegetarians. We are quite carnivorous, but with the fresh summertime produce, we are getting our fill of them since we are basically forced to go from our air conditioned house, to our air conditioned cars, to our air conditioned offices, and back again, so going outside to turn the grill on is a major task right now. I have a feeling that 4th of July will put us in the mood to grill, so for now we are just hiding out indoors. For this recipe I sautéed all of those yummy local veggies and baked them into a crustless frittata, perfect for that bikini bod that we are all striving for right now, am I right?

Baked Vegetable Frittata

  • 2 tbsp. avocado oil (or other high-heat oil)
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 1 small yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  •  1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, mined
  • 1/4 cup fresh pesto
  • 8 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a pie or quiche dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet or cast-iron, preheat oil over medium-high heat. Add in the broccoli, squash, zucchini, bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Cook, tossing until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the sauteed veggies to the whisked eggs and toss to mix.

Pour the eggs and veggies into the prepared baking dish and drizzle the pesto over the top. Bake in the oven until the eggs are set, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle freshly grated parmesan on top before serving.

Monday, June 29, 2015

HDFB Weekend Recap in Photos

For once we had a weekend where we weren't traveling or working or had really much on our agenda other than a relaxing weekend at home. Andrew's best friend and his fiance came up from Tucson for a night and we grilled out, played Cards Against Humanity and even made a midnight run for ice cream. No complaints here. We finished out the weekend with a late Father's Day celebration at my parent's house, where we dined on blackened mahi mahi and a nice glass of Lagavulin. Cheers!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Red Wine Risotto with Caramelized Mushrooms

I've basically gone insane. Like, who stands over a hot stove for 30+ minutes to make risotto (a typically fall/winter comfort food) in the dead heat of summer. Obviously the answer is me, but still, who does that? I was craving something hearty, maybe to pretend that it's not 114 degrees for the second week in a row. I love to ignore reality, clearly. So, in the middle of summer I in fact stood over my stove to make this incredibly rich risotto for you. And you know, what? It worked. We curled up on the couch to finish watching Season 3 OITNB (what kind of ending was that anyway?) and just vegged out. Now, I don't expect you to do the same until the temperatures drop at least below 70 degrees, but if you are feeling adventurous, or delusional like me, I promise it's worth it.

Red Wine Risotto with Caramelized Mushrooms 

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/4 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 3-4 cups vegetable stock
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
In a medium skillet, heath 1 tbsp. of butter over medium heat and add in the sliced mushrooms, cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes until caramelized. remove from the heat once they are soft and fragrant.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1tbsp. butter and olive oil together in a medium to large pot over medium heat. Once they are melted together, add in the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the rice and stir, coating the rice in the butter and oil, stirring and toasting for 3-4 minutes. 

Add in the wine and stir every minute or so, if not constantly, until the wine has been absorbed into the rice. Once the wine is absorbed, add in the broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed before adding more. After 3 cups have been added and absorbed, try a bite of rice to check the texture. If you would like them softer, add the remaining cup of broth.The entire process took me about 25 minutes until all of the broth was absorbed and the rice was tender.

After the rice has absorbed all of the liquid, add in the parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt. Stir, combining the cheese and serve hot, topped with the caramelized mushrooms.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Zucchini & Olive Oil Chocolate Muffins

These muffins are magical, and let me tell you why. These muffins have saved me multiple times over the past week. Last Thursday night as we were preparing for our road trip to California, my taste-tester fiance came home from work and needed to make sure that they weren't poisonous (you know, just in case), which saved me an extra 30 minutes to get dinner on the table. Then they saved us again on our 5-hour road trip, when I just couldn't fathom stopping for a road side snack (I see you McDonald's french fries). And then again between meals and sipping champagne on the coast (life is rough). And in fact, the recipe that I based these muffins on saved us on a long day of road tripping in Colorado for a ski weekend last year. See? Magic muffins. So if you are looking for something healthy to feed the kids in between popsicles, cannonballs, and summer break sleepovers, I've got you covered. They'll never even know there are vegetables in there! 

Zucchini & Olive Oil Chocolate Muffins

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini, excess liquid squeezed out
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a muffin tin with liners.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, oats, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in the honey, yogurt, olive oil, and mix well. Then add in the vanilla, mixing again. 

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until just combined. Add in the shredded zucchini and stir a few times until the zucchini is just incorporated into the batter.

Fill the muffin tins about 2/3 full and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.

Bake for 22-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Veggie Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

Apparently I have been on quite the vegetarian kick lately. I actually had to look back through my posts to figure out the last time I cooked something carnivorous {2 weeks ago, eek!}. But since I've been frequenting the Farmer's Market so much, and Costco keeps offering large selections of vegetables for record low prices, I just can't seem to get enough of them! Now, I served this stir fry straight up. All veggies, and nothing else. But feel free to stretch your dollar and serve this over a bed of rice, serving more people, or just making the veggies last for leftovers the next day. The real gem of this meal is the peanut sauce. While it is simple in nature, the flavors are bold and the saltiness of the ingredients really bring out the flavors of the stir fry, reducing the amount of salt needed while cooking.

Veggie Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

  • 2 tbsp. avocado oil (or other high heat oil) 
  • 1 large carrot, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1 zucchini, halved, seeded, then sliced into thin strips
  • 1 yellow squash, halved,then sliced into thin strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 1/2 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, thinly sliced
  • small pinch of salt and pepper to taste
Peanut Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  •  2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger powder

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or cast-iron pan.  Add in the carrots, zucchini, squash, bell peppers, onion, and broccoli. Stir to coat in oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the veggies has softened, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the peanut sauce by whisking together the peanut butter, vinegar, oil, soy sauce, garlic and ginger in a medium bowl until well combined.

Serve the peanut sauce over the warm veggies.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Grilled Squash Blossom Pizza

Local Arizona food blogger and now happy to call my friend, AZFoodie, has featured another one of my recipes this week. And this time I am featuring my latest obsession: squash blossoms. On pizza. Yes, you read that right. Local squash blossoms, roasted on a grilled pizza crust, topped with cheese, basil, and paper-thin slices of zucchini and squash. Doesn't get more summer than that right there. So head on over to AZFoodie to see what I've been up to and how to make this for yourself. 

Catch my Grilled Squash Blossom Pizza recipe here

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