Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Tin Foil Grill Packs

I'm really not sure what I would do without a grill. I mean, could I live? Yes. But would it be as satisfying? No. The grill is a place that my family always gathered around. My dad would cook everything from salmon to steaks to kabobs to yes, of course, hot dogs! I have carried the ease of grill cooking into my home as well, grilling pizza, veggies, burgers, and the easiest clean up meal of all time, these Foil Grill Packs! Toss them on the grill, use the foil as a plate (optional), then toss! WHat's even more is that you can literally fill these things with whatever your heart desires. Okay, maybe not ice cream, but just about anything else. So grab every vegetable from your fridge and pantry and get cookin'.

Foil Grill Packs

  • 8 evenly sized sheets of aluminum foil
  • 4 organic chicken sausages, sliced into discs
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large zucchini, halved horizontally, then sliced into half moon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro chopped
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preheat grill over medium high heat. In a large mixing bowl, toss together all of the ingredients. Lay 2 slices of tin foil on top of each other, and repeat 3 more times, so that you have 4 different double-layered tin foil packs. Divide the mixture evenly among the four tin foil packs. Wrap up the packs tightly and place onto a hot grill, cooking for 20 minutes, until the veggies are softened and the sausage is heated through. 

Serve hot. Feel free to serve among rice, quinoa, mashed sweet potatoes, you name it!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Funfetti Sugar Cookies

S P R I N K L E S!!! We all know my love and affinity for anything covered in waxy jimmie sprinkles. Even our wedding cake was encapsulated in the things. And I spent the better portion of my Friday night binge watching the Great British Baking Show...So what better way to spend my weekend, than baking up a large batch of ooey gooey cookies, with sprinkles in, on, and around every crevice of sugary dough. I also love the mixed use of extracts between almond and vanilla. Both pack a flavorful punch, but compliment each other really well. Just a forewarning, give yourself plenty of time to chill the dough before baking, so plan accordingly. 

Funfetti Sugar Cookies


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. corn starch
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup jimmie sprinkles

In a large bowl, or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 5 or so minutes until light and fluffy. It should be a pale yellow color.

Whisk in the egg, vanilla, and almond extract.

Add in the flour, corn starch, baking soda and salt. Mix until combined, about 1 minute. Then fold in the sprinkles, careful not to overmix.

Using a large cookie scoop or spoon, scoop the dough onto a baking sheet or into a tupperware container. Cover and place in the friegde for at least 2 hours, and up to 4 days. It is important not to cook these cookies while the batter is warm, or they will not hold shape.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper. Place the prepared cookie dough rounds about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. I baked only about 6-8 cookies at a time. Bake in the middle rack for 9 minutes. Remove from the heat immediately.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Summer Vegetable Quiche

The hubs and I have been doing our very best to try and not go out to eat in the month of July. It both budget and wait friendly. So we have been getting creative in the kitchen, mixing up our favorites with new recipes, and perfecting our homemade pasta and pizza skills. This weekend was another episode of breakfast for dinner, in the form of this vegetable quiche. It made the perfect light dinner, paired with a glass of dry white wine, and then delicious leftovers the next morning topped with avocado and hot sauce. So grab every veggie in your fridge and get to cooking. Also, my brain is fried right now, so insert quiche pun here. 

Summer Vegetable Quiche

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tbsp. chilled bacon grease (can use butter instead)
  • 1 tbsp. cold water
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup 1-inch chopped green beans
  • 1 small red potato, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme (pulled from stem)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a food processor, or with a pastry blender, combine the flour, salt, butter, and bacon grease (if using) together until a coarse meal forms. Add in the water and pulse to combine. If the mixture is still too dry, add in a bit more water as needed.

Press the crust mixture into a tart pan or pie dish, coming up around the sides. Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes, just until set, but not quite browned yet.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and saute the zucchini and green beans together until slightly softened. Seta side in a bowl. Add in the other tbsp. of oil and cook the potatoes and onion together until softened. Add to the bowl with the zucchini. Add in the fresh thyme leaves and mix well. 

Add the vegetables to the prepared crust and smooth out into an even layer. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Whisk together the eggs, almond milk, salt, and pepper, and pour over the vegetables. Bake in the oven until the eggs are set, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. Also makes for excellent leftovers!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Peanut Butter Brownie Energy Bites

Always on the go. Packing multiple meals to eat throughout your day. Don't want to spend $$$ at the vending machine only to sugar crash 30 minutes later. Does this sound like you? I've got a great solution and something that I like to do on Sunday's to keep my household somewhat healthier and fuller throughout our work week. We make energy bites! I personally like making my own version of Lara Bars (see here and here), but this week I thought I would make something for the hubby. My own peanut butter cup version of energy bites. With only 5 ingredients, and about 5 minutes prep time, there's no reason you can't do this too!

Peanut Butter Brownie Energy Bites


  • 12 pitted medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp. organic creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup almonds
  • 1 tbsp. raw cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. organic honey
Add all ingredients to a food processor and whirl until the mixture comes together and sticks together when you press your finger into the mixture. Add a tsp. water if it seems a little too dry in there.

Form the mixture into balls and keep in an airtight container in the fridge. Makes about 12-15 balls, depending on the size you prefer. Will keep for up to 1 week.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Cherry Blueberry Tart

It's been a crazy (but wonderful) 2 weeks. As you would know by the absence of me from this here blog. But don't forget, if you miss me, you can always find me over at AZ Foodie for some fun recipes and write-ups as well. After recovering from a weekend of fun and sun in Santa Barbara for a very good friend's wedding, we are barely back in the swing of things before heading back out of town this weekend to spend some time in weather that's about 20-30 degrees lower than the blazing hot sun of Phoenix, and I couldn't be happier. All of this 4th of July weekend and cabin fun is what inspired today's recipe, a fresh Cherry & Blueberry tart, thrown together in just minutes, and on the table just in time for dessert!

Cherry Blueberry Tart

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 cups pitted cherries
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 1/4 cup fine granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • sanding sugar and/or powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, carefully mash the cherries with the lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar. You just want them slightly flattened, not turned into mush. Add in the blueberries and toss to combine.

Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and roll out the puff pastry into an 1/8 inch thin rustic rectangle. Specific size or shape does not really matter here.

Pour the fruit filling onto one half of the rectangle, leaving about 1/2 inch border around the outside. Brush 1 tbsp. coconut oil around the edge of the filling and then take the other half of the puff pastry and close it over the top of the filling.

Using a fork, press down firmly around the edges of the tart to seal the edges. Brush the remaining coconut oil on top and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you prefer.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Paleo Sweet Potato Waffles

Is t weird that I have breakfast for dinner like once a week? And by breakfast, I mean I make a savory dish and throw an egg on top of it and call it a day. A little look into my life, as a creature of habit, I have the same thing for breakfast every single day. A hard-boiled eg and coffee. But I have been trying to mix it up as of late, and even had oatmeal with blueberries and cinnamon this week (I basically don't recognize myself). But I have to have at least an egg a day. So if it isn't what starts my day, it's what I end my day with. Eggs for dinner. That's my new habit. And coming from a girl who refused to eat eggs in any way, shape, or form as a kid, that's saying a lot. 

These sweet potato waffles are delicious on their own, but adding a sunny-side up egg (or a fried would be just as yummy!), you add some creaminess and added protein to the dish. Plus you can never go wrong with guac and hot sauce. Because guac is life, obvi. Feel free to make the paleo version, or use whatever flour and/or seasonings you prefer if you are not following the paleo lifestyle. 

Paleo Sweet Potato Waffles

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sweet potato
  • 2 tbsp. coconut flour (can use all-purpose of whole wheat for non-paleo)
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 batch homemade guacamole
  • 4 eggs
  • hot sauce (optional)
Preheat a waffle maker while you prepare the "batter".

In a medium bowl, mix together the sweet potato, almond flour, eggs, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. 

Fill the waffle maker with the mixture and press down firmly, and cook until crispy and browned. Repeat 3 more times for a total of 4 waffles. Place in the oven to keep warm.

Fry up your eggs any way you like them, I prefer sunny side up, and serve atop hot waffles and a side of guacamole and hot sauce. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Bratwurst Bar

One of my favorite local spots to have a casual date night or even group hang (do the kids even day hang anymore?) is a place called Brat Haus. We love it so much we even hosted out rehearsal dinner there for our wedding. Casual benches placed among an outdoor covered/uncovered patio complete with life-size jenga games, an entire chalkboard wall covered in unique art, and the best damn brats this side of the Mississippi (I cannot confirm or deny this fact, but it felt good to say it). This post is an ode to the Haus, and my own twist on how to serve up brats on a warm summer day, and my two favorite toppings to go with. The hot pepper relish is just that. Hot. But you can tone up or down the flavors depending on the types of peppers you use. Don't like heat? Omit the habanero. Or go turbo and add in a ghost pepper or two. The perfect match to hot pepper relish? Sweet and savory caramelized beer onions. While they do look a bit like worms and extremely difficult to make look appetizing in a photo, you'll just have to trust me on their delicious factor. This is a great way to gather friends and family for a casual, no fuss brat bar, because all of the prep can be done up to a week ahead of time! Take that, summer!

Bratwurst Bar
  • 6 bratwurst
  • 6 egg hot dog buns
  • garnishes (such as shredded cheddar, mustard, crushed potato chips, chutney, etc.)
Hot Pepper Relish
  • 2 cups chili peppers (I used a mix of red bell pepper, red chiles, and habanero), chopped into evenly sized pieces
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. whole yellow mustard seeds
Caramelized Beer Onions
  • 2 large onions, sliced evenly
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 beer (I used a Scottish ale)

To make the hot pepper relish, add all ingredients into a medium-sized pot and cook over medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely and store in the fridge for up to 1 week. 

To make the caramelized onions, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the onions and saute for about 10 minutes, until softened. Add in the sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper, and beer. Simmer on medium-low until all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool before using.

Grill your favorite brats over medium-high heat until char marks appear. Serve hot in split hot dog buns, topped with hot pepper relish, caramelized beer onions, or your own personal favorite toppings. 

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