October 31, 2014

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff GCH resizeThis recipe is one of my favorites in the “Comfort Food” category.  Beef Stroganoff is easy and filling, especially if you serve it over rice or noodles.  We just eat it straight from the bowl, paired with a salad or roasted vegetables.

Now before you think I’m crazy for using so much wine in a stew, remember that all the alcohol cooks off. You will not get tipsy from your entree, I promise!  Make sure you use a wine that you will want to drink, because this recipe leaves you enough for a glass or two with dinner.  You can use red – like cabernet sauvignon, merlot, or pinot noir – or white – like pinot grigio or chardonnay.  Don’t use anything sweet, though.  Nice and dry is the secret.  And if you are really, really opposed to wine…you can use beef broth instead.

This recipe also calls for dried mushrooms.  I get big bags of dried, sliced shiitake mushrooms at the Korean supermarket.  Any Asian grocery store should carry dried mushrooms for cheap.  If you can’t find them, you can use fresh button or cremini mushrooms.  The difference will be the cooking time – you’ll need to sauté them for longer so that you can cook most of the water out of them.  Just experiment until it looks right – it’s not rocket science.

Ready for a fall stew that will warm your belly and delight your tastebuds?  Let’s go!

Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 cup dried, sliced mushrooms (or use one pound fresh mushrooms, sliced)
  • 2 cups dry red or white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh snipped dill (or use 1/2 teaspoon dried dill)
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional, but nice)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup whole milk yogurt (or use sour cream or creme fraiche)

Directions:

  1. If using dried mushrooms:  In a bowl, pour in one cup of the wine.  Microwave for about a minute so it’s hot, or at least very warm.  Add the dried mushrooms to the hot wine to rehydrate them.  Place another bowl on top so the mushrooms stay submerged in the wine.  Let steep until Step 3.
  2. In a large pot, brown the ground beef.  You don’t need to add any extra fat, since the fat will melt out of the meat.  When brown, remove beef with a slotted spoon to a bowl.  Leave the fat and juices in the pot.
  3. Add the sliced onion to the pot and sauté over medium.  If using fresh mushrooms, add them together with the onion.  If using dried mushrooms, add the mushrooms AND the wine they were soaking in when the onion starts to turn golden, about 8 minutes.
  4. When the mushrooms and onion are soft and golden, add the beef back to the pot, along with the other cup of wine, the dill, paprika, and mustard.  Cover with a lid and turn the heat to low.  Simmer for 5 minutes to combine.
  5. Turn off the heat, stir in the yogurt, and serve hot.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

 

Here in New York, we have had quite the cool fall season so far!  (How about where you live?) Here in our home that means it’s soup season!  I’ve already made and frozen a batch of veggie broth and also chicken broth. Having those containers stacked up in the freezer means that basically any day I can throw together a pot of soup. All of the ingredients for today’s recipe are things that are generally on hand in my ‘fridge and pantry…well, maybe not the ham steak. :-)

There are plenty of bright green broccoli florets floating around in this hearty soup, but it’s broccoli stems that make up the base of the soup. This is a ‘healthified’ version of many Broccoli-Cheese soup recipes available. Rather than making a roux—a soup base consisting of onions, butter, and flour—we prefer to thicken this creamy soup by pureeing the potatoes and broccoli stems. Also, I use a larger proportion of broth, and less of milk and cream. And, I have found that using just 4 ounces or so of shredded cheese is quite enough. Each of these changes makes this soup ‘healthy but oh-so-yummy!’ Enjoy!

Broccoli Potato Cheese Soup

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ingredients:
2 large heads broccoli (approximately 2 pounds)
1/2 large onion
5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (approximately 1+1/2 pounds)
1/2 pound ham steak, cut into small cubes (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil + 1 teaspoon
2 heaping teaspoons chopped garlic
4 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
2 cups milk (I used coconut milk)
1/2 cup half & half
4 ounces shredded cheese (use something very flavorful
sea salt and freshly ground pepper (I used a lemon-pepper-salt combo)
directions:

  • preheat oven to 375
  • separate florets from stems of broccoli
  • take 1 cup of tiny florets, toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil; season w/salt&pepper
  • place on baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes…just ‘til beginning to brown;
  • remove from oven when done and set aside for garnishing
  • when you set aside the roasted broccoli, use the same pan to heat the ham cubes for about 6-7 minutes; remove from oven and set aside ‘til plating
  • rough chop stems of broccoli into 1-1+1/2″ pieces
  • peel and cube potatoes into 1″ pieces
  • chop onion into small dice
  • heat butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 4 quart (or larger) stockpot
  • add cut veggies and stir to coat; saute for 5-6 minutes; do not allow to brown
  • stir in broth; raise heat to bring to a boil
  • cover pot; reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or so…’til broccoli stems are tender
  • remove pot from heat and, using immersion blender, puree ‘til smooth
  • place back on stove and add broccoli florets and the milk; stir
  • cover and simmer for 10 minutes or ‘til florets are still bright green but cooked through
  • remove pot from heat and, again using immersion blender, puree for just a minute or so, breaking up the broccoli
  • place pot back on stove; and over low heat add half & half, and shredded cheese; stir ‘til combined and cheese is melted
  • carefully taste for seasoning, adding more s&p as needed
  • scoop into bowls adding the ham and roasted broccoli florets

NOTE: if not using an immersion blender, you can puree the soup like this (from Food Network.com):

“When blending hot liquids, first let cool for 5 minutes or so, then transfer to a blender, filling only halfway. Put the lid on, leaving one corner open; this will prevent the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel to catch splatters and pulse until smooth.”

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

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It seems like when we turn the calendar page to October, we all mysteriously start craving PUMPKIN!   I am not immune.   However, I didn’t want to make a big sugar bomb, so I searched around for something to satisfy the pumpkin craving and not spike my insulin.  Bingo:  Pumpkin Chia Pudding!

If you’ve never made chia pudding, now’s your chance.  I love it – the texture is a crazy blend of creamy and crunchy—like tapioca with attitude!  I make it with coconut milk, but you can try another nut milk or soy milk if that’s your thing.  This was ready to eat in an hour, and tastes just like pumpkin pie.  What more can you ask for?!

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree (about 1 cup, or use one cup of roasted and mashed pumpkin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or combine cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

Directions:

  1. In a blender or food processor, blend the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and honey together.
  2. Pour into a Tupperware container with a tight-fitting lid, or a very large jar with a lid.  Add the chia seeds and Shake!  Shake!  Shake!
  3. Refrigerate.  After another hour, shake again!  If it’s cold, go ahead and eat it!  Garnish with a little whipped cream if you like.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Some of my Favorite Things…and Cheesecake

So it was suggested to me to post a recipe today that is one of my very own favorites…since it is my very own birthday!  Woo-hoo…59 ! So I began to think about some of my favorite things…here are  ♪♬♪ a few of my favorite things! ♪♬♪

anything lemon-y
cheese
thai food
butternut squash (prepared just about ANY way!)
a really good mixed greens and veggie salad

But none of these yummy, delicious things are truly enjoyable to me without being able to share them with others. My FAVORITE things include being able to share a meal and God’s blessings with family and friends around our big old oak table!


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As far as a recipe for one of my favorites…well, I wasn’t quite sure and then decided to post my daughter’s Cheesecake Recipe (with her permission, of couse!). This was our indulgence for my birthday cake this year! This recipe is gluten free and refined sugar free; and prepares a huge cheesecake…enough for many slices! Enjoy!

 

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Cheesecake ala Kassia

crust
ingredients:
1 cup gf graham cracker crumbs (or traditional)
1/2 cup ground pecans
3 tablespoons softened butter

directions:

  • preheat oven to 400
  • butter sides and bottom of springform pan
  • mix ingredients together
  • pour mixture into springform pan and press firmly onto bottom of pan and up sides approximately 1+1/2″
  • bake for 10 minutes; remove from oven
  • set aside to cool
  • lower oven temp to 325

filling
ingredients:
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese or neufchatel (or combination)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup agave nectar (or honey)
16 drops vanilla creme stevia
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup half&half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice

directions:

  • (set eggs out when starting to make the crust)
  • adjust racks in oven so that one is in the high middle position (not the top position) and one is in the highest low position (#2 and #4 of 5)
  • put a roasting pan on the lower rack and add approximately 1″ water
  • beat cream cheese ‘til light and fluffy
  • gradually beat in sugar ‘til fully incorporated
  • add agave (or honey) and liquid stevia
  • add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition ‘til egg is fully incorporated
  • add cornstarch and beat ‘til smooth
  • add lemon juice and vanilla; beat ‘til fully incorporated
  • add yogurt and half½ beat just ‘til combined
  • carefully pour the filling mixture into the cooled crust
  • place filled springform pan into 325 oven; bake for 70-75 minutes ‘til very center of baked cheesecake is just a tiny bit jiggly when pan is gently wiggled
  • leave cheesecake in oven! turn oven off and leave door slightly ajar for two hours
  • it is best to refrigerate cheesecake for 24-48 hours before serving

topping
can be topped with {your choice} homemade whipped cream, canned pie filling, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, fresh fruit, caramel sauce, etc.

(I would love to hear what your favorite cheesecake topping is!)

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Barley Shiitake Risotto

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Sometimes I have to peek in my pantry and decide, “Enough is enough!”  Time to use up those odds and ends of things.  I had about a cup of barley left in a bag, so I went in search of a recipe for it.  I found one, made some tweaks, and now I present to you:  Barley Shiitake Risotto!

Barley has a fantastic texture:  firmer than rice, closer to a chewy and delicious wheat berry.  It is wonderful in stews and soups, but it is strong enough to be a star on its own.  This recipe calls for dried mushrooms.  You can use any kind of dried mushroom.  I buy dried shiitake mushrooms at the Korean market, and they’re much cheaper there than what you’ll pay for dried mushrooms at a regular grocery store.  For the broth, I made bone broth…but you can use any kind—chicken, beef, or even vegetable broth, that you like.  The original recipe called for grated parmesan, which I didn’t have.  I used a very hard white cheddar.  You can use any hard cheese you like – if you can grate it, you can use it here!

This is not a forget-it-type recipe.  You do need to stir it every few minutes to get the right texture.  Just start this on the stove while you’re making a salad or prepping the rest of your dinner and it will all work out…I promise!

Barley Shiitake Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms (or other dried mushroom)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup barley
  • 4-5 cups broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated hard cheese (parmesan, very firm white cheddar, or other cheese)

Directions:

  1. Put the dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl.  Pour over the white wine.  Put another bowl on top of the mushrooms so that they remain submerged in the wine and microwave for 30-60 seconds.  Let the mushrooms rehydrate while you work on step 2.
  2. Mince the onion fine.  In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil, and add the onion.  Stir over medium heat.  You want the onions to turn golden.  Meanwhile, in a smaller pot, heat the broth to a simmer.  Keep it simmering over low heat.
  3. Mince the garlic, and add garlic and barley to the pan with the onions.  Stir to combine, cooking for 3 minutes.
  4. Squeeze the mushrooms over the bowl and chop.  Add the mushrooms and the wine from the bowl to the barley.
  5. When the wine is almost all absorbed, add a ladle-full of broth.  Stir to combine.  Repeat this process, adding more broth every five minutes or so, when the last addition of broth is nearly absorbed.  You don’t want the pan to get dry, but you don’t want to make soup either.  This should take about 30 minutes for all of the broth to be added, stirred, and absorbed.
  6. After all the broth is added, taste a bit of the barley.  It should be firm and chewy.  If it’s still dry and not al dente, add more stock or water.
  7. When barley is done—chewy and al dente—season with salt and pepper.  Stir in grated cheese and serve hot. (Garnish with extra cheese and take a photo – optional.)

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Testimony of a Healthy and Confident Woman

Melanie

2014 was a big year for my client, Melanie, as she became a healthy and confident woman on the inside and out.  As a wife, a mother, and a grandmother, she has a full-time job where she works at home on her computer all day.  Because she could not stay consistent with any ‘program,’ she felt she had lost all motivation to exercise and eat healthy.  She felt it was a constant battle of starting and stopping over and over.

Working from home left her at the mercy of food all day.  She was unsure of how to create an eating plan or the know-how of what to do for an exercise program. After working with me for almost four months, Melanie has lost 20 pounds and has adopted a healthy lifestyle that gives her the confidence to be the woman God has created her to be and fulfill His call on her life.

I am so proud of her accomplishments and asked Melanie to tell me about her new lifestyle. The following is Melanie’s story.

*   ~   ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥   ~   *

Crystal: What would be your major accomplishments in the past four months?

Melanie: I would truly have to say my major accomplishment is not the weight loss but the sense of balance I have found in my life.  I have come to realize (as you always say) that this is a journey for me.  It is not a ‘diet’ that I maintain for so many months until a particular goal is reached; but it is a lifestyle—a way of living that improves my life in all areas…physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Crystal: Did you experience a breakthrough or overcome a specific challenge?

Melanie: My major breakthrough was my walking program that I thoroughly enjoy! I would never have imagined when I started the coaching session that I would be walking 3-4 times a week and reaching my goal of 3 miles in an hour! This was truly a major breakthrough for me!

Melanie: Another realization I came to during this process was overcoming the mindset that if I could not do something perfectly, I would not do it at all. I am not near as hard on myself or expecting so much out of myself as I once did. I still want to do my best but when I don’t conquer some goal or meet some deadline I have set for myself, it is not ‘the end’ but rather an opportunity to re-group and see how I can improve and what I may need to do differently. I don’t just give up!

Crystal: What new behaviors have you put into place as a result of us working together?

Melanie: My new behaviors would have to be planning my snacks, trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in my diet, and, of course, the exercise.

Crystal: What are your next steps toward your wellness?

Melanie: My next steps for physical, mental and spiritual fitness would be as follows:

  • Physically, as far as the food plan is concerned, I need to continue to try and plan my meals. I have found out that is a major contributing factor to success. Planning is the key and makes a big difference.
  • Mentally, I just need to try and stay focused when obstacles come against me and remind myself that no two days are alike. It is a journey and I can’t let one bad day define a whole week.
  • Spiritually, because of my new-found confidence, I am going to be speaking soon to a ladies group. I know the Lord will continue to give me confidence to say what He would have me say. I am excited about where this may take me. I am 56 years old and I think my becoming who the Lord would have me to be is a journey as well. It is time for me to “step up to the plate” and let Him use me.  And, hey, if I don’t make a home run in my own eyes, it’s ok….He will still be pleased with me!

I seem to have a newfound confidence in myself and in my ability to continue to work toward a healthy lifestyle physically, emotionally and spiritually. I may have lost weight but I gained so much more in the process!”

*   ~   ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥   ~   *

Melanie’s story is an amazing testimony of how taking care of your body by learning how to eat healthy and exercise can give you confidence in other areas of your life.  Growing in confidence allows you to have the courage to be the woman God has called you to be and complete the job is calling you to do.

A personal note from Crystal…

I have a heart and passion for coaching women how to be fit physically and spiritually. I believe that no matter the season, or how busy your life or impossible circumstances may be, you can learn how to eat healthy, exercise, and make time with God a priority.  I also believe gaining control of your health can give you confidence to step out and fulfill what God would have you do today.

Girlfriends, at this season of my life, it is time for me to step down from blogging for Girlfriends Coffee Hour. I have been truly blessed by each of you and pray that God will continue to strengthen you physically and spiritually. I believe in each one of you and know you can do it! I would love to continue to be a resource and encouragement in your journey to better health and wellness. You can follow my blog and facebook page to receive weekly encouragement.

I love you all,
In Good Health,
Crystal

Spaghetti Squash with Garlicky Shrimp and Tomatoes

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Healthy but oh-so-yummy…that’s this dish! I think that, even if you were ‘piggish’ and loaded your plate up with a bigger than usual portion of this dish, you would still be around 300 calories!  Enjoy!

Here’s how I figure that…
– spaghetti squash has 31 calories and less than half a gram of fat per cup
– 4 ounce serving of shrimp is going to set you back 100 calories with less than 1 gram of fat
– the tomatoes contain approximately 25 calories in one cup
– red onion and garlic add maybe 50 or so calories
– of course, the 1 tablespoon of olive oil adds 120 calories; the butter 100 calories; and the grated asiago (like most cheeses) brings 100 more calories
– and there is a good amount of protein in this dish, too!
NOTE: each pound of spaghetti squash will yield approximately 2 cups cooked squash

ingredients:
1 (1+1/2 – 2 pound) spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil or salted butter
1 medium red onion, finely diced
8 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (I use jarred)
1 cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)
1/2# raw shrimp, tails pulled off
sea salt & freshly ground pepper (I use a lemon pepper blend grinder)
1 tablespoon salted butter
3 tablespoons fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1-2 ounces of finely grated asiago (or other strong flavored hard cheese)
lemon slices for finish & garnish

directions:

spaghetti squash (there are a number of other methods, see link for some suggestions):

  1. 2014-10-07 18.42.53
    I simply cut one in half; pull out the seeds (only the seeds); rub the cut edges with a tiny bit of olive oil; season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper; place flat sides down on a piece of parchment paper or foil laid on a baking sheet.
  2. bake in a preheated 425 oven for 30 minutes; remove from oven, carefully flip over and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  3. when ready, take a serving spoon and run it along the edge between the skin of the squash and the cooked ‘meat’ of the squash. remove from skin and, using a fork, separate into strands.

shrimp and tomatoes:

  • heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat
  • add the minced onion and cook ‘til it begins to soften and slightly brown around the edges, 2-3 minutes
  • add the diced tomatoes (flat side down) and a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. lower heat to medium and allow to cook undisturbed for 6-7 minutes
  • the tomatoes will ‘give up’ some liquid and begin to create a sauce
    scatter the chopped garlic over the tomatoes, and stir constantly for an additional minute ‘til you begin to smell the garlic
  • pour in the wine (or broth), increase heat to medium and simmer ‘til the liquid has reduced by about half as much, maybe 5-6 minutes
  • add in the shrimp, and reduce heat to low; cook ‘til shrimp turn pink on the bottom side; flip over and cook ‘til shrimp are just pink all the way through; do not overcook
  • then when the shrimp have nearly cooked through, add the butter.  stir the butter so that it gets all around the contents of the pan and begins to slightly thicken the sauce
  • when the butter has fully incorporated, add the parsley and the spaghetti squash
  • gently fold everything together, allowing the spaghetti squash to reheat in the sauce for a minute or two so everything becomes the same temperature
  • sprinkle the shredded cheese across top
  • serve immediately with lemon to squeeze over the top; season to taste

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Cheesecake Baked Apples

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I love baked apples.  They’re tender yet sturdy, and you can fill them with lovely loads of raisins, spices and nuts.  Since my girl is allergic to nuts, I needed to find something different.  Ta-da!  Cheesecake Baked Apples!

I used Gala apples, and I would suggest you use either Galas or Fujis.  You can top these with whatever you like – nuts, crumbled cookies, or even ice cream!  We kept it simple and added some whipped cream.

You know a dessert is a winner when it suddenly grows quiet in the dining room.  My girls were so serious eating these healthy treats they stopped their near-constant girl chatter.  Try these easy baked apples today!

Cheesecake Baked Apples

Ingredients:

  • 6 apples (use Gala or Fuji)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I added a little ground nutmeg, too)

Directions:

  1. Slice off the top of the apples.  With a knife, cut out the core and scoop out the apple flesh. You want to leave at least 1/4 inch of apple “wall.”   Make sure you don’t cut through the bottom!
  2. In a bowl, blend together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, egg, and cinnamon.  If you like, you can add a little bit of the scooped-out apple flesh; just chop it up and stir it in.  Fill the apples about 3/4 full.
  3. Bake for about 20 minutes in a 350*F oven.  Remove and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Pear Butter

I’m just warning you—if you make this pear butter, your family is going to be looking around for a pie!  The aroma is amazing!  This is a super simple recipe and requires very little attention as it cooks.  I put it together in the morning, and it gave a very “autumnal” feel to the house inspiring me to <finally> switch out the summery wreaths to more fall-ish ones and adding little bits of fall decor around and about!

This recipe definitely fits in with our healthy but oh-so-yummy POV, too!  If you are someone who knows how to can (not in my skill set…at least as of yet!), this would be an excellent choice to fill some jars and store them away. I am just keeping ours in the ‘fridge while it lasts.  Someone suggested to me to add a small bowlful to a cheese platter; oh, my…wouldn’t that be yummy?!!  Here are a few ideas of ways I am thinking of to use the pear butter.  (I would love to hear your ideas, too…please share!)

  • mixed in with granola and yogurt
  • topping a bowl of hot oatmeal
  • spread on a piece of toast or a bagel w/cream cheese
  • on a peanut butter or almond butter sandwich
  • served with pork chops or a pork tenderloin
  • mixed in with roasted veggies
  • base for a vinaigrette

Pear Butter

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ingredients:
2-2+1/2 pounds of ripe pears, peeled and cored
1 large apple, peeled and cored
1 cup of water
2 chai teabags
3 small pieces of crystallized ginger OR 1/4 cup liquid sweetener
(i.e., honey, agave, maybe even maple syrup or molasses)
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out2014-10-04 14.38.27
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
juice of 1/2 of a lemon

 

directions:

  • chop fruit into smallish cubes (1-1+1/2″)
  • in a 2 quart saucepan, bring water, fruit, and tea bags to a boil; lower heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes
  • discard tea bag
  • using * an immersion blender puree the cooked fruit
  • pour into a mini-crockpot and cook on low for 2 hours, stirring every 20 minute or so
  • after 2 hours, add in the seasonings and the lemon juice; stir really well and cook for 1 more hour. it is finished when the quantity has reduced by 1/4 to 1/3, and it is nice and thick
  • blend to make it REALLY smooth!  done!  enjoy!

NOTE: it is super important not to tightly seal the crockpot or else the pear butter will become watery and not cook down into a nice, thick consistency. I simply propped up the lidon one side the whole time it was cooking with the spatula I was using to stir

* instead of an immersion blender, puree the cooked fruit and liquid very carefully in a standard blender or a food processor…or you could even mash it with a potato masher. the finer it is in the end, the better “butter” you will make.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Maple-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

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This recipe is one of those great finds:  Nutritious?  Absolutely…and Paleo too (if that’s your thing).  Easy?  You bet!  It’s a one-pot masterpiece with a quick prep time and easy clean-up.  Delicious?  Incredibly!  My family ate it all and there were no leftovers.  What is this delightful dinner?  Maple-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables!

For this recipe, you need chicken thighs with the bone and the skin still on.  Rubbed with a little olive oil, the skin crisps up and keeps the meat tender.  You can use whatever root vegetables you like.  I used baby carrots, Korean sweet potatoes (red skin with white flesh) and onions.  You could also try parsnips, turnips, butternut squash, apples, or even beets!  This recipe also calls for smoked paprika, which gives it a little smoky bite but not a lot of heat.  If you don’t have it, try a sprinkle of dried herbs instead, or even some curry powder!  Ready?  Let’s go!

Maple-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into baby carrot-sized fingers
  • 1 onion, cut into small wedges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 400*F.  Use a large Dutch oven or large baking dish.  On the bottom of the pan, toss together the baby carrots, sliced sweet potato, and sliced onion.  Add one tablespoon olive oil and toss with the root vegetables.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the chicken thighs on top of the vegetables, skin side up.  Pat the skin dry with a paper towel.  Drip a little oil onto the thighs and rub it in with your fingers.  You want a thin coating of oil over all the skin.  Drizzle the maple syrup over the chicken, then season with salt, pepper, and the paprika.
  3. Cook uncovered for one hour or more, until the chicken registers at least 165*F on a meat thermometer.
  4. Serve with the vegetables.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!